Absolute Friends

  • by John le Carré
  • Narrated by John le Carré
  • 6 hrs and 38 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

By chance and not by choice, Ted Mundy, eternal striver, failed writer, and expatriate son of a British Army officer, used to be a spy. But that was in the good old Cold War days when a cinder-block wall divided Berlin and the enemy was easy to recognize.Today, Mundy is a down-at-heel tour guide in southern Germany, dodging creditors, supporting a new family, and keeping an eye out for trouble while in spare moments vigorously questioning the actions of the country he once bravely served.
And trouble finds him, as it has before, in the shape of his old German student friend, radical, and one-time fellow spy, the crippled Sasha, seeker after absolutes, dreamer, and chaos addict.
After years of trawling the Middle East and Asia as an itinerant university lecturer, Sasha has yet again discovered the true, the only, answer to life, this time in the form of a mysterious billionaire philanthropist named Dimitri. Thanks to Dimitri, both Mundy and Sasha will find a path out of poverty, and with it their chance to change a world that both believe is going to the devil. Or will they?

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What the Critics Say

"John le Carre never, ever phones it in....He's an old pro with the ardent heart of an amateur, which is why...he is still capable of producing a novel as odd, as ungainly, and as compelling as Absolute Friends....Fans...will be happy to learn that he returns here to his old cold war stomping grounds." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Seamless abridgement. No one reads le Carre better than le Carre. His nuances, accents, and inflections are as brilliantly precise as his prose." (Publishers Weekly)
"Le Carre brings his superb reading talents - sonorous, cultured voice; gift for accents; deft expressiveness - to the story of Ted Mundy, a fumbling, well-meaning Brit....He is simply one of the best author readers there is." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Le Carre has a point of view

I suppose John Le Carre could write a bad book. I just never have read one. He also is a superior reader and/or actor.

What seems to be different about "Absolute Friends" is that instead of world- weary agents with murky allegiances more contingent on place of birth and chance, this book, in the end, has a passionate point of view. One that many fans of Le Carre may disagree with. Well, I can personally read about spies without becoming one. Highly recommended.
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- Ann

The Master is Back

I have never enjoyed an audio book more! This is a magnificent and timely tale reminiscent of A Small Town in Germany or Le Carre's other earlier works. It is deeply rooted in the cold war, yet quite contemporary, bridging the gap from the Berlin Wall to the current conflict in Baghdad.
The abridged version no doubt comes at the cost of some of the protagonist's more introspective self-examination, though the characters remain complex, human and compelling. And what a treat to have the author narrating. His reading adds a great deal to the authenticity and enjoyment of the novel.
Despite passages such as:
"The easiest and cheapest trick for any leader is to take his country to war on false pretenses," spoken by the book?s hero Mundy, Le Carre is quite even handed in his disdain for the entire cast of global players.
As with so many of Le Carre's imperfect characters, our "perfect friends" follow their highest ideals into the self serving world of political intrigue and the seedy realities of global greed. For those readers who shallowly declare that the book is an indictment on the West, listen more closely. It is an indictment on the human condition which repeatedly demonstrates its inability to translate our shared ideals into a political system that reflects those ideals.
All in all, an absolute little truffle of a spy book as engaging and satisfying as one could hope for from the greatest writer of the genre.
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- John

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-23-2004
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio