Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (The Penguin John le Carré Hardback Collection) Hardcover – 7 November 2019
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- Publisher : Penguin Classics (7 November 2019)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0241337151
- ISBN-13 : 978-0241337158
- Item Weight : 382 g
- Dimensions : 12.7 x 3.1 x 19.7 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #161,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from India
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"Soldiers of Peace" by Vladimir Wilson. Please have a look at this book. I am sure everybody will fall in love with my book. This is not economic but aesthetic in nature. Most importantly, you will know a lot of things from my book. But I welcome suggestions. please mail if you want to suggest me something.
You should just buy this book, and devour it, but slowly. Since, until the end, you shall be left scratching your head as to who is hunting whom.
A good read but I’m not sure too many people have the patience. Also, some language seems obscure and I’m guessing that’s because those are terms of the trade being used in sentences.
Top reviews from other countries
Although there are previous books in the Smiley series (this is book 5), in my opinion "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" would be suitable as the first to read - to be followed by the other two books in the trilogy that forms the heart of the series: The Honourable Schoolboy (George Smiley Series Book 6) and Smiley's People .
I think this is a really good book, and reflects well the cold war period and the hostility & suspicion which existed between the two armed camps, NATO and the Soviet Union. It moves at a good pace, and the characters are very much of the time. After all this time it is really quite a period piece, and a good read for anyone who is not familiar with the period of the Cold War and its tensions, as well as anyone who loves a good spy story.
If you are looking for action a la Fleming or Ludlum, then this is not for you; but if your desire is for a spy story that is deep and rich in detail, then this book will delight you.
An understanding, or appreciation, of the Cold War that raged in the decades after WW II is not essential to enjoyment of the book but it will enhance it because it helps you grasp what is driving the story and, most importantly, the characters. Comparing this book to real-life spy stories coming out of the Cold War era, such as Ben MacIntyre’s superb ‘The Spy and the Traitor’ about Oleg Goridievsky (thoroughly recommended!), it is amazing to see how how close to reality the tale actually is.
This time around, I read the book close after watching the BBC’s superb 70’s dramatisation of the novel starring Alec Guinness - and this has really helped to flesh out (almost literally) the characters in the book. The adaptation is incredibly close to the source material and I find myself not only visualising the scenes as they play out but vocalising (in my head) the conversations as they are portrayed on screen - a very interesting and enriching experience.
All in all, this is a great read and I cannot recommend it enough.
So, even if there were nothing more to it, I'd still say that this book was very good. What makes it great is that the author isn't content with giving you a realistic account of what it's like to be a spy. He's gone much further than that, and written a book that's not just about espionage, which most people never come into contact with, but about betrayal, which we see all the time.
The thing about betrayal is that you're generally aware that it's happening before you know how, or why, or who. Things used to be good, and now they're not, and you know that even if you do figure out what's happened you'll never be able to put it right. At best, you'll be able to cut your losses, and move on. In TTSS, the main character, George Smiley, is being betrayed in two different ways. First, it's gradually become clear that there is a mole in his department. It can only be someone at the very highest level. One of his most trusted colleagues, someone he has worked with for years, and shared things with, and treated as a friend, is actually working for the Russians. They have it narrowed down to four people. He has to find out which one it is, and do what's necessary. And, at the same time, he's also realized that his wife is sleeping around. He can't really prove anything, and they never talk about it. But he knows that too.
I can imagine any number of clumsy, over-obvious ways to link up these threads. Le Carré does it with a very light touch. You see these two things happening, and every now and then there is an echo of correspondence. He wants you to be a spy too, and put together the little bits of evidence until you reach a conclusion. It's a book that completely transcends the genre, and shows how a writer who has enough talent can achieve stunning results in any medium. Strongly recommended to anyone who's ever been betrayed, or themselves betrayed a person they're close to. Which, unfortunately, is most of us.
Le Carré can’t be accused of dumbing down for the readers. It is as if he subjects us in a subliminal way to the world of international espionage through the mentioning of countless names, work-name alternatives, organisational affiliations, obtuse exchanges in dialogue, disjointed timelines, story jumps, and awkward sentences that need rereading to clarify who is the subject and who the object.
Meanwhile, while we struggle to decipher the plot, Smiley whispers in our ear. Nothing escapes him, except his marriage.
The Circus (from Cambridge Circus) is an appropriate term for the freak show of inflated egos and over-clever mental acrobats that rub against each other on its top floor. Meanwhile, the achievements of the narrative are also its downfall, as is the aloofness of Smiley for him. I was pleased to reach the end and be able to leave him to the job of seemingly protecting us all from those appointed to do that.