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Smiley is an engaging character. With some obvious weaknesses abundantly made up by deep seated strengths. Just follow him and the novel keeps you engaged. Look elsewhere, and you may still find some entertaining, colourful characters, but none measure up. In contrast, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" was full of them. All made to stand with their unique past, peculiarities of character, their little idiosyncrasies, and yet, engaging and flavourful. All of them. Some of them just have a page or two. And yet they not only standout, but stick permanently in your memory. That touch is missing. But no complaints. Masterly narrated story all the same.
In my opinion, Tinker tailor Soldier spy is the best in the Karla trilogy. Smiley's people comes a close second. The non glamorous cold war hardened spy story takes twists and turns to a commendable ending.
George smiley novels have never ever been a breeze. It's taken me years to finish this trilogy taking in Smiley's dystopian sight one at a time, which managed to capture the darkness of the cold war in the best way possible. Farewell old friend.
In terms of the Karla trilogy I favour this more than the other two with the honorable school boy taking the bottom position but not by much
Writing a review for John le Carre is really superfluous. In fact, the world consists of only two kinds of people -those who worship Le Carre and those unfortunate ones who have not yet heard about him. My first encounter with him was with 'Spy who came in from the cold', and the fascination has lasted for over 35 years now. Smiley trilogy is dated - it is a part of the cold war world we have long forgotten about, and as a third world citizen, I was never really a part of it. But going with le Carre is like having a ringside view of the real world - the picture is so intricately detailed - almost like an eyewitness account, that it takes a bit of effort to remember that it is fiction. John le Carre has enriched my understanding of the world, and I share with him the exasperation and frustration that goes with it.
Wow! Could not stop reading once I began! The skilfully woven lives of the characters is the plot itself. LeCarre has shown once again how a softly treading masterpiece can bring the same adrenalin rush as the best of the action thrillers. Recommended enthusiastically!
The title is apt because this is very much a book about people. Characters who have only a small role in the plot are fully rounded, and of course, there’s Smiley himself, preferring the cerebral world but willing to put himself at risk. Le Carré was a superb writer, one of the greatest of the last 100 years, and will be sadly missed.