Books in the Media: le Carré's last dominates reviews to close career in style

Books in the Media: le Carré's last dominates reviews to close career in style

John le Carré's final novel Silverview (Viking) dominated the review pages this week, picking up mentions from the Sunday TimesTimes, Guardian, Financial Times, Sunday Telegraph, the i and the Scotsman

In the Sunday Times, Dominic Sandbrook called the author "one of Britain’s great postwar novelists" adding that the new novel, published posthumously the week the writer would have turned 90, has "enough reminders of [le Carré's] old magic to please his most ardent aficionados".

Over in the Times, James Owen said the novel was "strongest when it returns to the spy writer’s old, well-worn themes" whilst in the Daily Mail John Williams called the novel a "fitting coda to the work of our greatest spy novelist".

The Guardian not only ran an extract from Silverview and a comment piece from Fintan O’Toole, but authors including Stephen King, Paula Hawkins and John Grisham detailed their favourite le Carré novels for the publication. Grisham said: "I almost stopped writing, but with time convinced myself that I didn’t have to be as good as John le Carré to co-exist in the vast world of international publishing. I vowed, though, to at least try. And I’m still trying."

Tobias Grey, writing for the Financial Times, called le Carré's 26th book a "quieter and more implacable" book than the last two he published (2017's A Legacy of Spies and 2019's Agent Running in the Field) because of its "deliberate weighing up of things".

Jake Kerridge gave Silverview four out of five stars in the Sunday Telegraph, writing that le Carré "may have toned down his cynicism, but in his very last novel the late author's superb prose and witty dialogue are as sharp as ever".

The​ i's Barry Forshaw gave the novel three stars: "In this posthumous farewell, le Carré is still showing us how literary fiction and the spy narrative can coexist in the same book. Yes, the author’s admirers might have preferred a more weighty final novel with a tangible sense of threat, but this is what we’ve got – and we can be grateful for it."

Finally, in the Scotsman, Allan Massie said the novel is "packed with cherishable details and intriguingly ambivalent about the role of the Secret Intelligence Service", bringing his career to a close in "fine style".