By John le Carré
Julian is a 33-year old former trader who has given up his London flat, Porsche, and party life to open up a bookshop in a small seaside town even though he knows absolutely nothing about books.
Soon after his arrival, Edward comes into the shop and a few pages of dialogue later, you are left wondering...
Who is Edward, really?
And what does he want from Julian?
But to quote Forrest Gump: that’s all I have to say about that.
Because that’s all you need to know. It’s a le Carré novel after all.
So you already know there are spies and twists and turns, and that things aren’t always what they seem at first glance, and is Edward even his real name?
The dialogues in Silverview are brilliant. There is one long scene where Proctor, an agent, visits two former agents who used to work with Edward to find out about Edward’s past that is such delicious reading that it alone is worth buying the novel for. Because Proctor, naturally, doesn’t tell the two exactly why he needs this information either and so he has to make up a story to frame this interview too.
In some ways Silverview feels almost like a sketch of a novel, as though it wasn’t quite finished. It was published posthumously (John le Carré died in December 2020) and came out just a few weeks ago, so maybe that’s why. It’s very short, only 208 pages, and there’s also a melancholy, almost wistful feeling about it, but that may be due partly to the fact that I knew it was the last work we’ll read by probably the greatest spy novelist ever.