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A Small Town in Germany Paperback – 21 Sep 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Paperback, 21 Sep 2006
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (21 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340937599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340937594
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 787,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for The Constant Gardener (:)

The master storyteller...has lost none of his cunning (A. N. Wilson, Daily Mail)

The book breathes life, anger and excitement (Nigel Williams, Observer)

A cracking thriller (Economist)

Nobody writing today manipulates suspense better. Nobody constructs a more tantalisingly complex plot . . . essential reading (Chris Woodhead, Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

The classic le Carré novel reissued with a stunning new package

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Le Carré's fifth book is situated in and around the British embassy in Bonn, the post-WW II capital of West Germany during the second half of the 1960s. The political context of the book is rather contrived: the UK lost its empire, and is bankrupt and unpopular in West Germany. Anti-British feeling is running high with violent demonstrations. A populist politician urges people to turn their backs on the three former occupying powers and chart a new course for the nation, i.e. block UK-entry into the Common Market (precursor to the EU: the UK acceeded only in 1973), and support a trade alliance with Moscow instead...
While the Bonn embassy is preparing for the worst (mass demonstrations and a possible attack on its premises), a lowly diplomat, who is a temp and a former refugee with 20 years of service, fails to turn up for work. The embassy's most secret file is gone too, along with sundry other items, ranging from cups and saucers to an entire trolley loaded with files. Has he defected, run off to Moscow?
London sends one of its security hard men, Alan Turner, to sort out the mess. He confronts and offends everybody he speaks with in his search for truth, and he moves on and on, uncovering small and big secrets. Meanwhile, he is furious about his wife's infidelity with an upper-class type, the class tending to staff foreign embassies.
The book is memorable for several reasons: how large embassies went about their business operationally and socially during the Cold War; the memorable cast of diplomats and support staff; the significance of class in a British context, and the alleged shiftiness of German high-level contacts.
Finally, this complicated book is an experiment of not sending George Smiley (he is not mentioned at all), but Alan Turner to do battle. Unfaithful wives is what the two have in common, and passion for truth and justice in an environment full of hypocrisy, indifference and lethargy. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Re-reading this after some years I'm still struck by le Carre's accurate sense of time and place. The atmosphere of the period seeps from every page...even from a Kindle!

The prose is scalpel perfect...the dialogue succinct and totally credible as are all the characters we meet.

If you've never read this timeless novel(or haven't for some time)you won't be disappointed.....
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Format: Paperback
People often divide Le Carre's books into his Cold War classics (Tinker Tailor, Smiley's People) and his more recent, dominated by romantic causes and characters (Mission Song, Absolute Friends). This, one of his first, has elements of both. The 'Small Town' is Bonn, then capital of Western Germany, and the plot centres on the hunt for missing documents in the British Embassy amidst a political crisis. Le Carre's ability to evoke a sense of time, place and character is extraordinary, and the plot is beautifully fashioned, with twists and turns driven by people and history. The Cold War is more setting than subject (don't expect a Karla like baddie), but the sense of how on the verge of crisis now stable western Europe felt in the 60s adds tension other thriller writers would die (or kill) for. Whichever style of Le Carre you prefer, going back to this will show its roots, while highlighting the style that makes Le Carre such a stand out as a thriller writer.
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Format: Paperback
One of le Carre's first works, this novel sets the scene of a Europe bubbling with dissent. Unfortunately for my tastes it takes rather too long building the feeling of tension in the small town of the title (Bonn), although the hair trigger atmosphere of the times is well recreated. The inevitable twists to the plot are welcome when they arrive, as they go some way to relieving the tension. Not my favourite le Carre, but highly atmospheric, and worth reading for that alone.
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Format: Audio CD
John LeCarre's "A Small Town in Germany,"first published in 1969,is one of the British author's earlier works, and one of his stand alone cold war spy thrillers. He is, of course, one of the greatest authors of spy thrillers, and he's still publishing. His masterworks include The Spy Who Came in from the Cold;Smiley's People; and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. We here find the author doing his own reading, which, historically, many authors have loved to do. He once confessed that he so loved doing the voices of certain of his characters that he found it necessary to stop himself from writing them excessive parts. And, when you hear the author read his work, with various intonations, rhythms, and accents you realise how consistent a fictional world he has created.

LeCarre certainly has ample first hand experience of the business, as he was an actual British spy, for five years, under his birth name, David Cornwell. According to internet biographers, he was, in fact, embedded in Soviet territory when he was blown by Kim Philby, most famous post-war British secret service traitor; Philby's treachery might have been fatal to him.

But the entertainment at hand concerns doings in the British Embassy in Bonn, the capital of West Germany at the time, and takes place in the "recent future.
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