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?


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

Save Time and Listen. Don't read

In the film Amadeus, Mozart's Opera is criticized as having "two many notes." Le Carre's early works abound in detail; detail so great, so ponderous, and yet so necessary to his story. Most of his later books, however, are read as abridged editions, as is his latest one. Here the author reads his greatly abridged edition, announcing to all that his work has become pedantic. "Look here," he seems to say. "I can remove half of my words and still have the same story!" Unfortunately, his knife didn't cut deep enough. He could remove still another half. Too many notes.
The story is simple. Two radical "pink" friends interact throughout their lives. Firstly in the radical student movements of the 1960's in West Berlin. Then as spies for England against East Germany. Finally, they are set up by an ex-CIA agent, now working for global corporate interests, to look like terrorists targeted against US interests ala 9/11, with the tacit support of a lying George Bush and Tony Blair, who, of course, must murder them to keep their voices quiet.
Le Carre has always praised a "pink" or radically leftist point of view. In his first novel, Call for the Dead, for example, a Foreign Office employee is murdered. We find the man was sympathetic and a good communist. Not the "Communist" brand, mind you, but with a little c. He also, however, found some sympathy for Western thought as long as it was sufficiently liberal. Further, Le Carre has always pointed sharp barbs at the United States as well. In Absolute Friends, his portrayal of the new anti-global, anti-New World Order radical leftists is stronger than sympathetic, while his denunciation of capitalism and the United States is stronger than denunciatory. Can one read with some credibility that 9/11 was planned and executed by agents controlled by global corporations and supported by the US government?
Listen if you must. Many fewer notes.
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- Cyrus

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

Book Details

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