The book is very Russian, the best book about Russia by a non-Russian I have read. This is because it is concerned much with literature, publishing books and ethical dilemmas so dear to the Russians. I argue that *The Russia House* is neither the *spy thriller*, nor the *love triangle* story. Yes, there are elements of both, but these are decoys, literary devices the skilled literati John Le Carrй uses to confuse us while he is paying his tribute to the memory of the other literati - Boris Pasternak. The hidden hero of the book is Boris Pasternak. The character Goethe in the book is an embodiment of this remarkable Russian writer and poet. The clues are everywhere - Barley Blair meets Goethe at the party in the soviet writers' village (*Peredelkino*) where Pasternak used to live, they have a conversation by the Pasternak's grave, which is now a place of pilgrimage, etcetera. The Goethe's rebellion is against the *System* (first against the Soviet regime, but later against the western Capitalist order of things as well), which is designed *to trample the artist in man*. Goethe refuses to be bought up by *the West*, which is in a way similar to Pasternak's refusal to accept the Nobel Prize for literature (for his novel *Doctor Zhivago*). But like Pasternak, Goethe wanted his manuscript to be smuggled abroad and published. The curious fact is that the manuscript of *Doctor Zhivago* was smuggled from Soviet Union by Pasternak's friend Isaiah Berlin. According to Steven Dorril's *MI6*, Berlin used to be a British intelligence officer (probably before becoming a prominent Oxford academic). I highly recommend this excellent book.