ABSOLUTE FRIENDS is a superbly paced novel spanning fifty-six years, a theatrical masterstroke of tragi-comic writing, and a savage fable of our times, almost of our hours. The friends of the title are Ted Mundy, British soldier's son born 1947 in a shining new independent Pakistan, and Sasha, refugee son of an East German Lutheran pastor and his ...Read MoreABSOLUTE FRIENDS is a superbly paced novel spanning fifty-six years, a theatrical masterstroke of tragi-comic writing, and a savage fable of our times, almost of our hours. The friends of the title are Ted Mundy, British soldier's son born 1947 in a shining new independent Pakistan, and Sasha, refugee son of an East German Lutheran pastor and his wife who have sought sanctuary in the West. The two men meet first as students in riot-torn West Berlin of the late Sixties, again in the grimy looking-glass of Cold War espionage and, most terribly, in today's unipolar world of terror, counter-terror and the war of lies. Deriving its scale from A PERFECT SPY and its passion from THE CONSTANT GARDENER, Le Carre's new novel presents us with magical writing, characters to delight, and a spellbinding story that enchants even as it challenges.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-04-05 Le Carre's angry, ultimately heartbreaking novel focuses on Ted Mundy, a good-natured British expat in Germany who's eking out a mundane existence guiding tourists through Bavarian castles when his longlost friend Sasha, a diminutive German anarchist, appears to offer him financial and ideological salvation. A surprisingly long flashback takes listeners from Ted and Sasha's first meeting in West Berlin in 1969 through the Cold War and, consequently, their careers as spies, before returning to Sasha's present scheme to save the world from Western imperialism. The story melds the poignant personal tale of Mundy's unwavering altruism with the author's sardonic take on the perfidy of economic globalization. Both themes are well-preserved in this seamless abridgement. No one reads Le Carre better than Le Carre. His nuances, accents and inflections are as brilliantly precise as his prose. For example, Le Carre lends Mundy's voice a note of optimistic naivet? that eventually ages into a soft, measured fatalism, but for the ever-aggressive Sasha, his voice takes on a nervous intensity. Mood-appropriate music serves as a bridge between chapters-a Sousa-like march here, a vaguely Beatlesque riff there-adding to this well-produced audio package. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Forecasts, Nov. 24, 2003). (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-11-24 Le Carr? may have changed publishers, but his latest novel remains as resolutely up-to-date as ever. In place of the old Cold War games, his recent books have dealt with the depredations of international arms merchants and the impact of predatory drug manufacturers on the Third World. Now his eloquent and white-hot indignation is turned on what he sees as a duplicitous war in Iraq and the devious means employed to tarnish those who oppose it. The friends of the title are two beautifully realized characters, both idealists in their very different ways. Ted Mundy, the bighearted son of a pukka Indian Army officer, leads a life in which his inborn kindliness and lack of self-regard are turned to what he sees as good causes. With Sasha, the crippled son of an old Nazi who turns bitterly against that past only to be tormented by the rise of a new brutalism in East Germany, he forms a double-agent partnership that feeds British intelligence during the Cold War years. With the collapse of the Soviet system, Ted is at loose ends, trying both to make ends meet as a cheery tour guide for English-speaking visitors to Mad Ludwig's castle in Bavaria and to support his Muslim wife and her small son in Munich. Suddenly he hears again from Sasha, who tells him that a mysterious benefactor wishes to enlist his services as teacher and translator to counter the widespread propaganda on behalf of an Iraqi war, and he is inflamed once more with a desire to help. The grim consequences are spelled out by le Carr? with a deadly fury that is startling in the context of his usual urbanity. With a largely German setting that recalls some of his earliest books, as well as the same embracing clarity of vision about human motives and failings that gleams through all his best work, this is a book that offers a bitter warning even as it delivers immense reading pleasure. (One-day laydown Jan. 12) Forecast: No reader, whatever his politics, could fail to be moved by the passion and intelligence of le Carr?'s latest. For those who feel as he does about the war and its consequences, this book will be a special gift. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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