The Russia House

by John le Carré Fiction

  • UK Hodder and Stoughton (1989, 464 pages)

It is the third summer of perestroika. Barley Blair, London publisher, receives a smuggled document from Moscow.

Blair, jazz-loving, drink-marinated, dishevelled, is hardly to the taste of the spymasters, yet he has to be used - sent to the Soviet Union to make contact. Katya, the Moscow intermediary, is beautiful, thoughtful, equally sceptical of all state ideology.

Together, as the safe clichés of hostility disintegrate, they may represent the future - an idea that is anathema to the entrenched espionage professionals on both sides.

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