Have you ever, perhaps while standing stocking-footed in an airport security line, thought that, at some level, the terrorists have won? Take that feeling to the power of ten and you approach the outrage that permeates A Delicate Truth. There is little of the ambiguity that shaded John LeCarré’s early works, no good people doing questionable things for good reasons. Now, those with power are corrupt or complicit; those that aren’t are befuddled and ill equipped to survive in the treacherous new world of out-sourced espionage.
Carré’s moral sense powers his writing, but in this instance, it overwhelms the plot, forcing convolutions that don’t quite make sense. One of the key characters, Giles, behaves in ways that are inconsistent to the point of confusion, and the late reveal about his personal life did not clarify it for me.
.John LeCarré is among my favorite writers. Although I did not find A Delicate Truth to be among his best books, I still think it is worth reading. However, if you haven’t read any of his other books, don’t start here.