Superb novel, but perhaps needs at least some understanding of global politicking and/or African politics and neo-colonial narratives – at least if the reader is informed a bit on these, s/he will love the book. Intense and like many of le carres, fast-paced. Yet differs from most of his other spy thrillers in the fact that it delves much more into few characters and their personal lives.
It reads almost like a biography of Bruno Salvador, half Congolese boy (other half Irish) who “somehow” ends up in London. His early life in war-torn Kivu in Eastern Congo, his later life in a mission school and still later as an interpretor employed by various services in London presents interesting details of growing up African-British in London. His apparently “superficial” metro marriage and his later passionate affair with a Congolese nurse and of course the central theme of the story – key political actors from international organisations, governments and Congolese politicians and the facade of development that they weave through politicking and his role as an “interpretor” weaved into intricate details of the lives of these global actors makes for a superb insights into these aspects.
It’s amazing as to how imperceptibly, at least three independent stories are interwoven into one novel – almost like a good slow-cooked meal with the ingredients coming together nearly inseparable to their original character!
Above review based on my review on goodreads.