Silverview, a review by Cat

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John le Carre

Published October 12, 2021
By Viking
224 Pages

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Silverview by John le Carre came up as one of my Book of the Month options, and I grabbed it without hesitation. It wasn’t until after I started reading that I learned that Silverview is a novel le Carre had been working on over the course of a few years – never quite getting it to the point that he liked. So now I’m feeling a bit conflicted on the matter.
These days all Julian Lawndsley wants to do is run his bookshop. But his past keeps chasing after him, making that next to impossible. As it turns out, it is rather difficult to retire from certain careers, as the waters never stay calm for long.

I originally grabbed Silverview because a.) John le Carre’s name was on it, and b.) I’ve been craving a good spy novel as of late. Unfortunately, I found this novel to be only midding-to-fair. That isn’t a bad thing, mind you. Just not great.
Part of the problem may lie with me (or rather, my mood at the time). I just really struggled to get into this one. It was slow at times and really danced around the issue on more than one occasion. I know, I know – it’s a SPY thriller. They’re not going to lay it out all nice and clean for you. But that’s not what I’m talking about – not exactly.
I wonder if part of the problem is that this novel was left unfinished when John le Carre sadly passed? I don’t know if that is my bias showing there (again, I am conflicted about this) or if that is really the case. I do know that this wasn’t the sweep me off my feet spy thriller I had been hoping for.

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