It’s about now that other websites state their picks for not only the best books of the year, but the best of the decade; here’s one such choice.


by Christopher Ruthe

Our Kind of TraitorIf you thought the UK secret services were the epitome of fair play, political rectitude and display unique skills in the covert operation, do not read this acerbic deconstruction of the myths you hold dear.

The story is set in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Bros. It tells of Britain’s voracious appetite for money, any money, especially that from untraceable money sourced from the Russian oligarchs. Central to the story is Dima, a brilliant launderer of monies from various nefarious sources. And his naïve belief in British “fair play. He offers to do a Snowden and expose the hypocrisy and cant of the British Government.

Le Carré has a deft skill in portraying the effect on the lives of characters of the machinations unknown to them. And flowing from the superbly understated use of language he has the reader crying out for fairness and decency. Humans as mere pawns. The powerless kept in perpetual dark about matters that will profoundly affect their lives.

This is a book that should be read by all those who forever say “The system is right. It is needed as a bulwark against the evils of this world”. Here is evil, nuanced subtle invidious evil dressed in the garb of stiff upper-lip self-righteousness, pervasive because “Fairness” cloaks all.

The title is Becketian¹, containing in four words the essence of humans at play. The world is merely a stage, as the great bard said.

Published by Penguin

1. Samuel Becket was the ultimate minimalist. He wrote “Play without words.” That Time a one-act play written in English between 8 June 1974 and August 1975 specially for actor Patrick Magee, who delivered its first performance, on the occasion of Beckett’s seventieth birthday celebration, at London’s Royal Court Theatre on 20 May 1976 and seen by this critic was a head suspended — and the play lasted about 20 minutes. Hence the comparison.