The Looking Glass War

I picked up a library copy of John le Carré’s The Looking Glass War because all my own books were in moving boxes, and to begin re-habituating myself to intensive reading in the lead-up to my comprehensive exam in August.

The novel is what you would expect from le Carré: not sensationalized, conveying a sense of awareness about realistic tradecraft. The characters aren’t much differentiated, but the writing is very good and the book seems like a nice counterweight to the sensationalism of the general espionage genre. For instance, there are a number of detailed passages about the inconveniences of operating a WWII-era radio using Morse code. The bureaucratic turf war that forms the primary motivation for the action in the novel seems depressingly realistic.

To sum up: it’s a reasonably interesting quick read which provides the sense of a brush with realism that distinguishes le Carré from other writers in the genre.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

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