by John le Carre published in Harper's Magazine
Read original on Harper's Magazine's website
In this excerpt from le Carré's last novel, we lea...Show description
Posted 570 days ago
I was absolutely blown away at le Carré's prose and scenes. It's not often that we are pulled immedistely into a story as if we were there, and this being merely an excerpt from a book, not a short story written for itself.
I haven't read any of his books yet, but this excerpt makes me want to reserve one from the library today. See how beautiful the scene is that Carré depicts:
Whether Julian allowed or not, Avon had already risen to his feet, coffee in hand, leaving Julian not knowing which to be more surprised by: the man’s evident familiarity with his father’s unfortunate life, or Avon’s reddened eyes sunk into their sockets, cheeks cracked with pain lines and coated in silvery stubble.
That is the writing of somebody who dedicated their life to prose. The story is told in third person, but mainly from the point of view of Julian. Avon (Edward) is a deeply interesting character that makes us want to read through the pages.
As he leaves the bookshop, Julian notices the smell of alcohol on Edward's breath, and it's hard to tell of he is truthful or potentially a crazy drink. Julian goes in search of the answer and finds out that Edward's wife is dying in the hospital. Many kn the town find him endearing as well, indicating that he isn't as crazy as Julian first thought.
There is something in Julian's past, certainly father issues, that both repels and attracts Edward. But he is unsure how to proceed, and he says at the end of the excerpt:
Falling asleep at last, he speculates as to whether he has discovered in himself a secret need for another father figure. He decides that one has been quite enough, thank you.