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Funeral in Berlin Library Binding – May 1969


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Product details

  • Library Binding
  • Publisher: Franklin Watts; Lrg edition (May 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0531001873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0531001875
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Born in London, Len Deighton served in the RAF before graduating from the Royal College of Art (which recently elected him a Senior Fellow). While in New York City working as a magazine illustrator he began writing his first novel, The Ipcress File, which was published in 1962. He is now the author of more than thirty books of fiction and non-fiction. At present living in Europe, he has, over the years, lived with his family in ten different countries from Austria to Portugal.

Product Description

Review

‘A ferociously cool fable, even better than The Spy Who Came In From the Cold’
New York Times

‘Funeral in Berlin is splendid’
Daily Telegraph

‘A most impressive book in which the tension, more like a chronic ache than a sharp stab of pain, never lets go.’
The Standard

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From the Back Cover

"Ferociously cool, even better than 'The Spy Who Came In From The Cold'."
NEW YORK TIMES

'Then Samantha said, "Personally I think you are a doll… But Vulkan is a genius. Vulkan has a mind like a diamond while you have a mind like glass."
"Commercial diamond versus hand-cut glass," I said. "So I am typecast as the loser?"
"It's a one-horse race," said Samantha with finality.
The greatest tribute you can pay to a secret agent is to take him for a moron. All he has to do it make sure he doesn't act too exactly like one. That was my concern now.'

"Our unidentified narrator isn't some establishment bloke called James Bond who knocks back poncey cocktails and smokes custom-made cigarettes. He's one of us."
LOADED

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. Webster on 17 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Stok waited while the grey-haired one closed the door behind her. Then he said, 'Let's stop quarrelling, shall we?'
'You mean personally?' I said. 'Or are you speaking on behalf of the Soviet Union?'"

When Len Deighton's Cold War spy stories appeared in the first half of the 1960s they were welcomed as painting a more realistic picture of the world of espionage than did the fantasy world of James Bond. Whether it is actually a true picture or not, Deighton certainly makes you FEEL as if you are getting a glimpse of the real spy world.

In my view, Deighton's first four spy novels are by far his best. These are: "The Ipcress File"; "Horse Under Water"; "Funeral in Berlin"; and "Billion Dollar Brain". I feel that after this period Deighton went downhill, losing the lightness of touch and sharpness that characterise these four books.

Three of these four were also transferred to the big screen: "The Ipcress File" and "Funeral in Berlin" are quite good films; the film version of "Billion Dollar Brain" is best forgotten.

It has been rightly pointed out that the nameless narrator (who becomes Michael Caine's "Harry Palmer" in the films) is reminiscent of Raymond Chandler's private detective, Philip Marlowe, but transferred from the world of crime to the world of espionage. The two characters certainly both have the same mixture of wise-cracking humour, cynicism, sharpness of mind, and integrity. (Though with Deighton's character there is less emphasis on the last of these - his job involves more deviousness than Marlowe's.)

The other "realistic" spy story writer who came along at about the same time as Deighton was John Le Carre.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alfred J. Kwak on 29 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
This is Len Deighton’s second of four spy novels with a nameless hero from Burnley, Lancashire, who in the film versions is called Harry Palmer (HP). It was published 50 years ago, has 51 brief chapters and was last reprinted in 2011. It takes place between 5 October and 10 November 1963. [JFK was killed 12 days later.] The Berlin Wall had been built a little over two years before. There are Berlin-related newspaper headlines on the first and last pages of the book. The Six Day War was some 3 ½ years off, but some early stirrings appear in this book…
Tense times in Europe and busy days for its guilds of spies. HP’s travails take him to France, East & West Berlin and Czechoslovakia. He meets with people with an often active WW II past: old and new spies and double agents, a Treblinka survivor, a former German general, etc., some of whom will return in other HP adventures. The tone is set from page 1 with HP, working for the civilian spy agency WOOC(P), visiting the eccentric Home Office official Hallam in his cramped living quarters.

Some reviewers on Amazon argue whether the HP novels are Deighton’s best or not. My view is that the later spy books are more even, slower, with more plausible plots and less fun. His early preoccupation with WW II, science and technology gave way to epic searches for traitors and moles (cf. the three Bernard Samson trilogies plus its historical intermezzo “Winter”). The charm of his early books is that they are fast-paced, iconoclastic, with plausible and wildly improbable parts and uneven re quality of dialogue.

Re this book one cannot deny that some of the characters and atmosphere are brilliantly drawn.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By alex kovzhun on 25 May 2001
Format: Paperback
Welcome to the dark realm of betrayals, double cross and intrigue. Nobody is who they seem to be. Epigraphs to each part are simplest chess rules - at the first chapter, for instance, it states that in chess players go one after another. Closer to the middle of the book one feels the urge to go back and check with previous rules, 'cos suddenly they are important! The period and topic is thoroughly researched - even from my post-"Empire of Evil" background. Pity there are only 5 stars - I would give more to this book! If you do not like spy novels - try this one. I know - I hooked my girlfriend via this novel (she used to consider spy novels as an inferior sub-literature before :)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Oct. 1998
Format: Paperback
This is one of Deighton's best; the plot is superb and full of the usual twists that are his trademark. This book is thoroughly researched and a tremendous read. I thoroughly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Martin Swift on 28 July 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another Len Deighton novel that I read until the book developed 'dog-ears'...now on my Kindle and what a wonderful re-read I have had.
Once again the hero narrates the storyline...once agin in the book he has no name...
This is a wonderful book, I enjoyed it the first time around and i must have read it now more times than I have fingers and toes, could have needed to be 'Jake the Peg'.
From seeing the film of the same name and seeing and hearing the voices of the actors playing the characters, it's no doubt that Sir Michael Caine was perfect for the role that became Harry Palmer in the films, whilst reading I hear his voice everytime the narrator retorts to someone and I know that Len deighton originally had no one in mind as the person to be the main character and allows you to feel that the book is being narrated by Len Deighton himself. Now not many people know that!
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