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Book Review – Smiley’s People by John le Carré

SynopsisJohn le Carré‘s classic novels deftly navigate readers through the intricate shadow worlds of international espionage with unsurpassed skill and knowledge, and have earned him — and his hero, British Secret Service Agent George Smiley — unprecedented worldwide acclaim.

In Smiley’s People, George Smiley is asked to come out of retirement for one last confrontation with his soviet counterpart, Karla. Smiley’s people crisscross Paris, London, Germany, and Switzerland in an extraordinary final showdown of unrelenting suspense.

First Line:  “Two seemingly unconnected events heralded the summons of Mr. George Smiley from his dubious retirement.”

Random Quote:  “George, we cannot be held responsible for every ex-agent who takes an injudicious nocturnal walk in one of London’s increasingly dangerous open spaces!”  He held out his hands in appeal.”

Review:  This used to be my least favorite of the George Smiley books.  Honestly I think when I was younger I just couldn’t figure out the intricacies of the alliances between all these refugees who seemed so old and odd to me.  Now they feel just right – with romantic pasts and possibly romantic presents and still committed to their cause, no matter how quixotic the quest.

The City of LondonLondon – Image via WikipediThis book is much more like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in tone.  It details various interconnected yet solitary quests and hones in on George Smiley’s pursuit of Karla, his white whale.  The first novel in the trilogy is laced with betrayal, the second with the end of Empire (both American and English), and this one is all about personal endings and the tragedies that come from choices made or neglected.  It’s a melancholy book, even in its ending, artfully acknowledging that the journey is almost always more satisfying than the destination.

FTC Disclosure:  Purchased from Half-Price Books


Reading Challenges:  RIP V

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