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Publisher's Summary

"The Soviet knight is dying inside his armour."

"Glasnost" is on everyone's lips, but the rules of the game haven’t changed for either side. When a beautiful Russian woman foists off a manuscript on an unwitting bystander at the Moscow Book Fair, it's a miracle that she flies under the Soviets' radar. Or does she? The woman's source (codename: Bluebird) will trust only Barley Blair, a whiskey-soaked gentleman publisher with a poet's heart. Coerced by British and American Intelligence, Blair journeys to Moscow to determine whether Bluebird's manuscript contains the truth - or the darkest of fictions.

At once poignant and suspenseful, John le Carré's The Russia House is a captivating saga of lives caught in the crosshairs of history.

©2013 John le Carré (P)2013 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Russia House

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difficult poetry

I personally think LeCarre is one of the most difficult writers to actually read. I finally got the hang of it when I listened to him read one of his novels. He translates himself wonderfully, but this is not always what narrators or film makers can do. Russia House is one of my favorite movies, as much for the music as the story. I read Dawin8u's review and decided to try this narrator because I knew the story well and loved it.

Either I am getting better at listening or Jayston understands well enough to translate. He did a wonderful job with a difficult writer. The problem with LeCarre is that a chess game of characters and plots moves into poetry and then dance. He, LeCarre, has not just complex plots but complex interest in the goals of writing. The intellectual and the sensual seem to take equal weight and until one arrives at the willingness to translate these strands into comprehension whole parts of a story refuse to read. There may be something about writers attempting to understand Russia that I like as well. Martin Cruz Smith writes in ways that read like poetry in his Renko books.

17 people found this helpful

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Spying is Waiting.

"The old isms were dead, the contest between Communism and capitalism had ended in a wet whimper. Its rhetoric had fled underground into the secret chambers of the grey men, who were still dancing away long after the music had ended."

I love 'The Russia House'. I love the anger; the way the novel seems to capture all the threads that le Carré had woven in most all of his cold war novels and noose both sides. I love it for its humanity. In some ways it reminded me of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four: with the bureaucracies/grey men of both sides of the Cold War desperate to continue the fight, desperate for an enemy, desperate for perpetual fear for the greater good.

While I was knocked over by Orwell's GREAT novel, I never cared for Winston Smith quite the same way I cared for Scott Blair. Le Carré's genius is making you absolutely love his sinners and fear his saints, and then making you forget which is which and who is who. The West is mirrored by the East. We have become what we feared, what we fought.. Ultimately, le Carré's characters become like family. Yes, they are flawed. Yes, they are giants. Yes, they are petty...and, utimately they are you.

46 people found this helpful

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Utterly fantastic

It’s more than just nostalgia. This feels so real in the only the way a John Lecarre novel can. The narration is both soothing and intense. If you’re ready to relive the Cold War, like we’re all about to do, then this is the novel for you.

4 people found this helpful

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great book

Le Carre is the Shakespeare of spy novelists, but I find his worldview depressing...No more to review.

4 people found this helpful

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The Russia house

This a wonderful book. It is romantic and shows how love can overcome differences in ideologies and capitalistic and communistic countries. It shows how these differences can be totally overcome and made insignificant when two people from enemy countries fall in love

2 people found this helpful

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Dense

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Too long and too dense even for Le Carre. Could not follow plot and characters easily.

Would you recommend The Russia House to your friends? Why or why not?

No - there are other Le Carre books that are better and more digestible.

Which character – as performed by Michael Jayston – was your favorite?

He's a great reader, perhaps the best at Le Carre

2 people found this helpful

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Great

What a good story. Twists and turns and keeps you engaged the whole time. One of my favorite le carre books

1 person found this helpful

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Struggled to finish

Expected more after reading Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. This book dragged on and on and .....

1 person found this helpful

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I wish I could give the performance more than 5 stars

Michael Jayston has the perfect voice for this book. I am going to look for another le Carre (whom I love) book and I hope Jayston is reading that, too.

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The Russian house is a bit hard to follow

The penmanship is exquisite but the story is though not complex is hard to follow.