Books · Read in 2021 · Reviews

Book Thoughts: A Small Town in Germany (John le Carré)

Is it bad that I just didn’t care?


Title: A Small Town in Germany
Author: John le Carré
Genre: Fiction / Mystery/ Espionage
First published: 1968
Edition: Paperback, published by Penguin in 2011

West Germany in the 1960s is a simmering cauldron of radical protests. Amid the turmoil Leo Harting, a Second Secretary in the British Embassy, has gone missing – along with more than forty Confidential embassy files. Alan Turner of the Foreign Office must travel to Bonn to recover them. As he gets closer to the truth of Harting’s disappearance, he will discover that the face of Cold War Europe – and the attentions of the British Ministry itself – are far uglier that he could possibly have imagined.


I feel bad giving this book a low rating, but I really did not like it all. Going in, I had the sneaky suspicion that this genre of book, espionage thriller kind of stuff, was not for me, but I had never read one, so figured it was worth a shot.

From the start I just never got into this story. To me it felt dry and uninteresting. I did not really care what was going on. I had a vague curiosity to see what happened to this man who had disappeared, but throughout the book it slowly seeped away. I just did not care in the end what was happening.

I kept hoping it will pull me in at some point, but it just never did, which makes me kind of sad. I am not sure whether it is just this spy book that did not work for me or whether the genre as a whole is one I should skip. This is a very popular writer, but I guess he just is not for me.

I am not saying this is not a good book – it just really was not for me. I did not hate it, I am just completely indifferent to it, which may be worse!

2 out of 7 stars

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