Le Carré’s Muslim zombies

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 07.59.38In A Most Wanted Man (2008), Dalrymple explains, a half-Russian, half-Chechen illegal immigrant to Germany with a past as a Muslim activist becomes the object of the unfair and unscrupulous attentions of German, British and US spies.

As usual in John le Carré,

the spies are as much concerned with doing each other down as with the ostensible object of their investigation.

The illegal immigrant

Edward Said: would have complained of reprehensible orientalism

Edward Said: reprehensible orientalism

is befriended by a radically, though not implausibly, humourless German female civil rights lawyer and an unlikely and unlikeable British private banker, both of whom are ‘turned’ by the intelligence services of their respective countries.

Dalrymple notes that le Carré

is clearly sympathetic to the Muslim characters in his story, making them morally superior to the Westerners.

However, the Muslim characters

are unrealistic and almost ­zombie-like. No doubt Edward Said, if he were alive, would accuse le Carré of orientalism, in this instance with some justice.

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