Wednesday 6 March 2013

#bookreview: Single & Single by John le Carre

Single & SingleSingle & Single by John le Carré
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When a book starts off with the intriguing line This gun is not a gun, you know you're in for a rather interesting read.

Single & Single starts off with the cold-blooded murder of a British corporate lawyer in Turkey. His boss, Tiger Single, the brains behind the financial house Single and Single, goes missing. In the middle of the night, Oliver Hawthorne, a children's entertainer, is questioned about a sudden influx of cash to his daughter's trust fund.

John le Carre explores the shady world of money laundering (in epic proportions!), pitting the acts of the father against the conscience of his son. How much love do you need to have to continually gloss over the sins of your loved ones? And what would it take to bring you back again?

Nothing in life is ever clear-cut, and this is evident in the story that le Carre weaves. Who is right and who is wrong, how much of this is real and how much of it is embellishment? What is the magic behind these successful people who seem to get away with their crimes? What moral fiber holds up those strong enough to stand for what is right?

Strong food for thought in a fictional thriller.

View all my reviews

Leading on from that, I'd like to call in a rather interesting parallel that came to mind... which was something I was mulling over in A Place to Call Home, where Daniel finds out his adoptive father is paying out bribes to get contracts. The question I had was - was that really strong enough to make someone decide to leave his home? We figured that maybe yes, it was.
And in Single & Single (hope this isn't a spoiler), Oliver turns himself in and snitches on his father's money laundering operations because his conscience finally caught up with him. But in this case, he had support from the government and was given a new start on life, anonymously, with a different name. And when troubled times hit his family, he turned back and did all he could to save his father.
Where would Daniel's conscience have led him? I wanted him to leave. To turn his back and say no, this life of lies is not for me.
But on the other hand, it would have been ungrateful of him to leave. What kind of gratitude is this boy, adopted from nowhere, showing, if he just ups and leaves after all of the things the Lees have done for him?
What would true love have been? To stay because of the bond of family? Or to call out the wrong?
I think this covers pretty much the essence I was looking for, but missed:
He needed to dab the bruises from his father's face and get him a tooth job and put a pressed suit on him and shave him and deliver him to Brock, and after Brock to sit him behind his half-acre desk at Curzon street; to set him on his feet but say, "There you are, you're on your own, we're quits."
We caught ourselves in a strange compromise in the musical, allowing Daniel to stay because Mrs Lee had independent money that was not tainted, but it wasn't the best of endings.
No, it wasn't at all.

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