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Extended Audio Sample A Perfect Spy: A Novel, by John le Carré Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,973 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John le Carré Narrator: Michael Jayston Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Over the course of his seemingly irreproachable life, Magnus Pym has been all things to all people: a devoted family man, a trusted colleague, a loyal friend—and the perfect spy. But in the wake of his estranged father’s death, Magnus vanishes, and the British Secret Service is up in arms. Is it grief, or is the reason for his disappearance more sinister? And who is the mysterious man with the sad moustache who also seems to be looking for Magnus?

In A Perfect Spy, John le Carré has crafted one of his crowning masterpieces, interweaving a moving and unusual coming-of-age story with a morally tangled chronicle of modern espionage.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The best English novel since the war.”

    Philip Roth, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

  • Le Carré’s best book, and one of the finest English novels of the twentieth century. Philip Pullman
  • The best English novel since the war. Philip Roth
  • Brilliantly written. The Washington Post
  • Le Carré’s best book, one of the enduring peaks of imaginative literature in our time. Los Angeles Times
  • “A first-rate espionage novel, perhaps the best of his already impressive oeuvre.”

    New York Times

  • "A Perfect Spy by John le Carré is a favorite book of mine. I think it’s the best spy novel ever written.”

    Tim Curry

  • “His most compelling novel, one he may spend the rest of his life trying to top.”

    New York Daily News

  • “Le Carré’s best book, and one of the finest novels of the twentieth century.”

    Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials

  • “Overshadows The Spy Who Came in from the Cold…le Carré’s intense feelings, linguistic artistry, and stinging wit draw the reader into the story of Magnus Pym…Epic in scope…le Carré again masterfully chronicles the dangerous game-playing world of international espionage.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Michael Jayston’s powerful enthusiasm…masterfully captures the layers of psychological motivations that are le Carré’s stock-in-trade…In A Perfect Spy both author and narrator are in top form.”


  • “Not a spy novel in the usual sense…but a skillfully manipulated, complex, and probingly written study spiced with lively anecdotes. To be savored.”

    Library Journal

  • “Only le Carré could write a spy novel in which betraying one’s country could become a life-affirming action. Far more than a thriller, A Perfect Spy is a meditation on the problem of identity in a complex world.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Bitter, stately…Psychological texture and morality-play dynamics…allow le Carré to write his richest, most unabashedly Dickensian prose yet: occasionally self-conscious or precious, often stirring, magical, gravely joyous.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Currerbelfry | 2/18/2014

    " Probably the best popular fiction about the ethics and circumstances of the 20th century that I've read. What happens to a person whose entire life is dedicated to pleasing those around him - first one person, then the next - when those people have conflicting agendas? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Maura | 2/11/2014

    " I am not generally into spy novels but this one was pretty good. It starts off strong but drags a bit as it continues. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Emily Sours | 2/9/2014

    " second favorite john le carre novel--involves cold war spies, but not the karla plot. his books are about spies, yes, but spies that inevitably human, not james bond. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Strategic | 2/9/2014

    " If you like spy stories, this book is the definition of those. Definitely. "

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