Julian Rhind-Tutt is Magnus Pym in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast adaptation of John le Carré’s superb spy novel.
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“Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.”
So says Magnus Pym, the spy of the title; and he has betrayed a lot in his life - countries, friends, family and lovers. When Magnus disappears after his father’s funeral, MI6 launches an urgent manhunt to prevent his defection. But Pym is on a search of his own - to unravel the mystery of what made him the perfect spy.
Was it the duplicity of his con artist father, Rick? Or his MI6 mentor and father figure Jack Brotherhood? Or was it Axel, the Czech agent he has known since his teens? All have marked him in crucial ways, and as the net closes around Magnus, he attempts finally to make sense of his life and find the source of his talent for deception....
A Perfect Spy is le Carré’s most autobiographical novel, and has been hailed as his masterpiece. This superlative radio production, starring Julian Rhind-Tutt, Bill Paterson, Michael Maloney and Anton Lesser, is a compelling exploration of identity, treachery and the complexities of the human heart.
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Brilliant Book: Problem with Adaptation
What did you like best about A Perfect Spy? What did you like least?
Perfect Spy found the Perfect Cast....alas, the same cannot be said for this adaptation to a BBC radio play. There are some terrific moments — but for those of us who cherish this work and have read it many times, it's baffling that the adapter omits absolutely key moments and LeCarre descriptions and dialogue, words that are essential to understanding Pym and why he does what he does. Why? If you haven't read the book you will enjoy this harrowing tale of betrayal, it just doesn't give you that deep resonance of the book itself, which as LeCarre says, contains a great deal of autobiography regarding the relationship of Pym and his larger-than-life conman father.
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