An instant New York Times bestseller!
In his last completed novel, John le Carré turns his focus to the world that occupied his writing for the past sixty years—the secret world itself.
“[Le Carré] was often considered one of the finest novelists, period, since World War II. It’s not that he 'transcended the genre,' as the tired saying goes; it’s that he elevated the level of play… [Silverview’s] sense of moral ambivalence remains exquisitely calibrated.” —The New York Times Book Review
Julian Lawndsley has renounced his high-flying job in the city for a simpler life running a bookshop in a small English seaside town. But only a couple of months into his new career, Julian’s evening is disrupted by a visitor. Edward, a Polish émigré living in Silverview, the big house on the edge of town, seems to know a lot about Julian’s family and is rather too interested in the inner workings of his modest new enterprise.
When a letter turns up at the door of a spy chief in London warning him of a dangerous leak, the investigations lead him to this quiet town by the sea . . .
Silverview is the mesmerizing story of an encounter between innocence and experience and between public duty and private morals. In his inimitable voice John le Carré, the greatest chronicler of our age, seeks to answer the question of what we truly owe to the people we love.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The late spy novelist John le Carré left this thriller to be published after his death—and it definitely has that sense of farewell to it. It’s the story of thirtysomething Julian Lawndsley, who has left his high-pressure financial career in London to open a little bookshop in a small coastal village, where a local eccentric convinces him to organize a literary salon. Meanwhile, the intelligence service is investigating a potentially serious breach, with clues pointing straight to the quiet beach town. As always with le Carré, we were drawn in by perfectly calibrated plot twists, immersive scene setting, and the stylish, witty dialogue with unspoken tension underpinning every conversation. There’s a melancholy sense of le Carré lamenting the politicization of modern-day intelligence services, making the remarkable storyteller’s final work feel as timely as Cold War classics like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
First-rate prose and a fascinating plot distinguish the final novel from MWA Grand Master le Carré (1931–2020). Two months after leaving a banking job in London, 33-year-old Julian Lawndsley gets a visit from an eccentric customer, Edward Avon, just before closing time at the bookshop Julian now runs in East Anglia. When Julian asks the man what he does, he replies, "Let us say I am a British mongrel, retired, a former academic of no merit and one of life's odd-job men." The next morning, Julian runs into Edward at the local café, where Edward claims he knew Julian's late father at Oxford. Julian later learns that Edward, a Polish emigré, was recruited into the Service years before. Julian senses something is off, as does the head of Domestic Security for the Service, who's investigating Edward's wife, an Arabist and outstanding Service intelligence analyst. While laying out the Avons' intriguing backstories and their current activities, le Carré highlights the evils spies and governments have perpetrated on the world. Many readers will think the book is unfinished—it ends abruptly—but few will find it unsatisfying. This is a fitting coda to a remarkable career.
This is a wonderful book. The plot, the characters and language are beguiling.
However, it does have an unfinished feel that makes it less compelling than it might have been.
Banal. Forgettable characters.
First even come close to living up to Tinker Tailor.
Nice read. Not memorable. In my mindll