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I have recently returned to reading Le Carres older works which I remember reading and liking very much when they appeared. They have not aged well. Now I find le Carres baroque constructions annoying. Nothing is straightforward, a lot is very opaque, the characters are very vague and the plots are really not very logical. Take the Honourable Schoolboy (second book of the Karla Trilogy). Here we have in the first part an interesting revelation of a a money pipeline, but then it is completely forgotten in the second part where a mysterious brother comes from China (what has he been doing there?) and is caught by the Americans thanks to the very complicated legwork by Smiley. And then we have the "honourable schoolboy" who complicates the situation and errs impossibly around Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos during the chaotic last days of Saigon and Phnom Penh. And Karla is almost invisible here. So it is very unclear, to say the least.
I'm afraid this is no classic. I'm a Le Carre fan and read this twenty years ago and recently came back to it as I couldn't really remember it. I now know why I can't remember it, it is because it isn't worth remembering. A poor story, tedious characters, weak ending. Avoid unless you are a real fan.
It is a very slow story and unfortunately not at all gripping, with characters from a bygone age. I carried on reading it out of respect to the author and the hope that it would start to get going soon. Unfortunately it didn’t. Maybe it would appeal to more intellectual readers, not sure though. I gave it 2 stars because that is what I thought it was worth and the level of recommendation i place on it.