The Tailor of Panama by John le Carré

Summary:  Le Carré’s Panama—the young country of 2.5 million souls which, on December 31, 1999, will gain full control of the Panama Canal—is a Casablanca without heroes, a hotbed of drugs, laundered money and corruption.

Seldom has the weight of global politics descended so heavily on such a tiny and unprepared nation. And seldom has the hidden eye of British Intelligence selected such an unlikely champion as Harry Pendel—a charmer, a dreamer, an evader, a fabulist and presiding genius of the house of Pendel & Braithwaite Co. Limitada, Tailors to Royalty, formerly of London and presently of Panama City.

Yet there is a logic to the spies’ choice. Everybody who is anybody in Central America passes through Pendel’s doors. He dresses politicos and crooks and conmen. His fitting room hears more confidences than a priest’s confessional. And when Harry Pendel doesn’t hear things as such—well, he hears them anyway, by other means.

For what is a tailor for, if not to disduise reality with appearance? What is truth if not the plaything of the artist? And what are spies and politicians and journalists if not themselves selectors and manipulators of the truth for their own ends?

In a thrilling, hilarious novel, le Carré has provided us with a satire about the fate of truth in modern times. Once again, he has effortlessly expanded the borders of the spy story to bring us a magnificent entertainment straight out of the pages of tomorrow’s history.

My Review:   I really enjoyed this book, I didn’t know if I would when I first started reading about the book.  I have never seen the movie and did not know much about this book going into it.  This book is a fast paced page turner that will make you want to join in the fun.

The characters are complexly developed but not so overly complex you can’t relate.  The setting is during a politically complex time in Panama.   The book is what I call complexly good.  I am taking that phrase and running with it.

I really loved this book and I am so glad I finally have come around to reading this fun novel.  I will have to go watch the movie now because I bet Pierce really brings this book into life.

Have you read this book?  Did you like it? What else have you read set in Panama?

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