Synopses & Reviews
Le Carré's Panama the young country due to gain control of the Canal December 31, 1999 is a Casablanca without heroes, a hotbed of drugs, laundered money, and corruption. Seldom has the weight of global politics descended so heavily on such a tiny & unprepared nation.
And seldom has the hidden eye of British intelligence selected such an unlikely champion as tailor Harry Pendel, evader, charmer, and presiding genius of Pendel & Braithwaite Limitada.
Yet the choice is not without its logic everybody who is anybody in Central America passes through Pendel's doors. He dresses everyone from the Panamanian President to politicos, crooks, and spies. His fitting room hears more confidences than a priest's confessional...
"It's little short of brilliant the way le Carré has caught the febrile corruption of the little country....Le Carré remains far in front in his field, a startlingly up-to-date storyteller who writes as well about the shadows around the power elite as anyone alive." Publishers Weekly
"Surely nobody writes this kind of novel better than le Carre, not even the late Graham Greene, whose Our Man in Havana (1958) was the inspiration for this novel." Library Journal
"The pace is nonstop, scenes are cleanly and economically written, and flashbacks are incorporated seamlessly into the narrative...the conclusion, which probably should not come as a surprise, resoundingly does." New York Times
"Naturally, this house of cards can't stay aloft forever...but it's a mordant pleasure to watch the structure collapse, along with the fate of nations, in exquisitely choreographed slow motion." Kirkus Review
"Le Carré's major post-Cold War concern, the nexus of drugs, guns and adrift intelligence agencies (addressed more directly in The Night Manager), is evident here. He also lays into decaying, corrupt institutions, like the British Conservative party, manipulative press barons on both sides of the Atlantic and the thoughtless manner in which the United States applies military force. But in The Tailor of Panama, unlike his more recent books, le Carré writes from the inside out. His characters emerge in all their folly, grandeur and ambivalence. And the author's shrewd ear for the vernacular is worth the price of admission alone. At 65, le Carré is still, as he remarked a couple of years ago, 'fizzing with fiction.' His fans, and English literature, are the better for it." Andrew Ross, Salon.com
Le Carre's Panama--the young country of 2.5 million souls which, on December 31, 1999, will gain full control of the Panama Canal--is a Casablanca without heroes, a hotbed of drugs, laundered money and corruption. Seldom has the weight of the global politics descended so heavily on such a tiny and unprepared nation. And seldom has the hidden eye of British Intelligence selected such an unlikely champion as Harry Pendel--a charmer, a dreamer, an evader, a fabulist and presiding genius of the house of Pendel & Braithwaite Co. Limitada, Tailors to Royalty, formerly of London and presently of Panama City. Yet there is a logic to the spies' choice. Everybody who is anybody in Central America passes through Pendel's doors. He dresses the Panamanian President, and the General in Charge of U.S. Southern Command. He dresses politicos and crooks and conmen. His fitting room hears more confidences than a priest's confessional. And when Harry Pendel doesn't hear things as such--well, he hears them anyway, by other means. For what is a tailor for, if not to disguise reality with appearance? What is truth if not the plaything of the artist? And what are spies and politicians and journalists if not themselves selectors and manipulators of the truth for their own ends? In a thrilling, hilarious novel, le Carre has provided us with a satire about the fate of truth in modern times. Once again, he has effortlessly expanded the borders of the spy story to bring us a magnificent entertainment straight out of the pages of tomorrow's history.
Bestselling author John le Carre--creator of the highly acclaimed George Smiley novels--has once again effortlessly expanded the borders of the spy novel to bring readers an exuberant, tense, heartbreaking, and provoking entertainment straight out of the pages of tomorrow's history.
About the Author
John le Carré was born in 1931. After attending the universities of Berne and Oxford, he taught at Eton and spent five years in the British Foreign Service. The Spy Who Came In from the Cold
, his third book, secured him a worldwide reputation. He divides his time between England and the Continent.
From the Hardcover edition.