Prufrock's Page

Friday, September 15, 2006

Perhaps One Ought To Have Asked Him What It's Not About

On one side of the Atlantic, he's an elegant writer of spy thrillers. On the other side, he's a serious practioner of literary fiction. John le Carre on his new novel, The Mission Song:

"...the novel isn't really set in Congo at all--or so I had almost persuaded myself by the time I began my journey. It's a romantic satire, for heaven's sake, written with both feet firmly off the ground. It's about Tony Blair's England, and good old-fashioned colonial exploitation, and political hypocrisy and shameless public lies, and other scores I had to settle. It's about the quest for identity in our multiethnic society, and New Labour's assault on our civil liberties, and a bunch of other similarly lofty themes. Congo is just backcloth, an abstraction, a symbol of perpetual colonial exploitation, slaughter, famine and disorder. To meet it face to face would only violate the delicate illusion!--or so I had tried to believe."


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