Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"A Delicate Truth" - John Le Carre

In Gordon Brown's hapless fag-end government,  a young Ed Balls-like minister is in cahoots with an American right-wing private security company to illegally snatch a top jihadi from British Gibraltar.

Naturally,  this piece of incompetent free-enterprise goes horribly wrong leading to collateral damage (the death of innocents): also a blip in the career of said minister. The story doesn't die: an FO whistle blower is on the case and soon the cover-up is causing yet more collateral damage.

Don't you just hate those right-wing Republicans with their oodles of cash,  unlimited certainties and easy access to power?

Le Carre's novel is as beautifully written as always with a fine delineation of character. It's a shame, therefore, that the novel reads like a Guardian manifesto.

Wading through the unrelenting moralising at stereotyped hate-figures one eventually uncovers the flimsy plot. Yes, the operation went wrong .. but they often do. What happened is sad but completely unremarkable and would certainly not initiate the life-changing events Le Carre angrily recounts.

Like much of the novelist's recent work, 'A Delicate Truth' is merely an elegant rant.