A Son’s Respect for His Dead Father

Dare I Weep, Dare I Mourn? is a short story by one of the masters of espionage fiction, John le Carre. When I see the name, I know the writing will be excellent. The content will be great by itself, but it is the combination of content and the writer’s art that will make it superior. John le Carre is one of the “go to” writers when a reader wants to be sure of quality entertainment that provokes thought. This story appeared in the Saturday Evening Post on January 28, 1967. I acquired this digital copy from Amazon Singles Classics.

In this short story le Carre, although British, captures the heart and soul of a stereotypical German. There is the love for order, a sense that things must happen in a correct sequence. With Herr Koorp we find a character that has survived WWII and ended up in West Germany where he became a successful and well-respected businessman. His family home, however, is in East Germany. That is where his father resides. In the West, Koorp is a man of influence. He was not a person to be trifled with, not the person who would appreciate a joke if he perceived he was the one being made fun of.

One day Herr Koorp receives a message that his father in East Germany has died. His last wish was to be buried in the West. How will Herr Koorp respond to this request? Bureaucratically, the paperwork is almost impossible. Koorp would like to ignore the whole thing but his wife points out how his status in the community will rise if he fulfills his father’s last wish. What will Koorp do?

To know that, read this excellent short story. Note how le Carre reveals hints and invites the reader to make assumptions. The reader will never know until the last paragraph what happens. Then the reader will puzzle long after about the true influences that brought about the result. I gave this five stars on Amazon. This short story sells for USD 099.

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