This review is from: A Delicate Truth (Hardcover)
The first option was BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime, when A Delicate Truth was rendered into ten 15-minute instalments, available only for a week, so no longer a real option. It didn't work, being simultaneously confusing, cryptic, disjointed, and, to me, simply hard to follow: the main character (who was he? His name, even?), the sequence of events (what related to what?), and even the sex of several contributors (female name, male voice).
The second option: the published hard copy book. Much better, and one could refer back ('Matti', 'Laura'). But, again for me, the desire to 'get on with the story' resulted in skipping the occasional adjective, adverb, even phrase. This was both unhelpful to me and unfair to the author. And intonation was missing, to the same effect.
The third option: the whole text, on nine CD's recorded 99% by le Carré himself. Not a word is missed, so the listener cannot skip. Intonation is vividly present throughout. Pauses are themselves informative.
So, pay for the CDs is my considered recommendation. I'm old enough (le Carré's senior by a year or two) to have grown up with 'rendition' having a translator's context only; but no longer -- it's the chilling undertow to Giles Oakley's interrogation of Toby Bell, rubbing in what had previously been no more than hinted at.
The 'over the shoulder' narrative technique works, the shoulders being multiple, if highly selective. The shoulders do not obtrude, because we are inside the heads which the shoulders support.