The Mission Song

  • by John le Carré
  • Narrated by David Oyelowo
  • 11 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Abandoned by his parents, Bruno Salvador has long looked for guidance. He found it in Mr. Anderson of British Intelligence. Working for Anderson in a clandestine facility, Salvo (as he's known) translates intercepted phone calls, bugged recordings, and snatched voice-mail messages. When Anderson sends him to a mysterious island to interpret during a secret conference, Bruno thinks he is helping Britain--but then he hears something he should not have.


What the Critics Say

"Amid the bursts of humor, le Carré convincingly conveys his empathy." (Publishers Weekly)
"His prose is as lovely and expressive as ever; his ear for dialogue remains wonderfully acute." (Washington Post)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Only a tease, a taunt of le Carré's brilliance

My basic take on 'The Mission Song' is similar to Alvy's old joke in Annie Hall:

"um... two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions."

Well, that's essentially how I feel about this book. Actually, wait no, I don't think 'The Mission Song' was terrible. I thought parts of it were actually brilliant and the potential for brilliance was huge. I loved the idea of Bruno Salvador, the interpreter, caught between two worlds. There JUST wasn't enough of THAT part. The plot was fairly simple and straightforward. Not bad, but again, only a tease, a taunt of le Carré's brilliance wrapped in an average le Carré just makes me sad.

It also suffers from being proximately sat next to (or nearly next to) The Constant Gardener; yes, two le Carré's African twin sisters: one brilliant (The Constant Gardner), and one that only has the hint of brilliance (The Mission Song). One just pales in comparison to the other, and will perpetually be overshadowed by her better looking, more talented colonial twin.

Speaking of Colonialism, le Carré just wasn't pissed enough in this novel. I kind of like it when his anger is turned up to 11. The anger was here, but it was diffuse and subtle and romantic and sometimes a bit misdirected (to me). He merely twirled the narrative knife instead of shiving and shanking.
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

Superb book with brilliant reader

Set against an African background but with the action in the UK, this is a rather unusual story about a secret summit of African leaders which is bugged by MI5 and an Afro-British interpreter who is in deeper than he appears to the delegates. The cultured voice of the reader still carries his racial background in its tenor, and he is able to give dicrete voices to each speaker so the listener is never in doubt as to who is speaking. Le Carre as always gives a twisting tale, and with the end of the cold war he has found other forums for his stories. This one is excellent and believable (alas!) but it is the superb reading which makes this audiobook so engrossing and plausible.
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- Vivien Tarkirk-Smith

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-09-2006
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio