George Smiley was summoned from his dubious retirement by two seemingly unconnected events - an old woman in Paris is promised the return of a daughter she will never see, and a handover is to take place on a steamer in Hamburg.
©1979 David Cornwell (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
I have been reading this book repeatedly, along with the others in the 'Smiley' trilogy, for the past 30 years. Having it in audio form opens up even more aspects of Le Carre's brilliant characterisations.
Michael Jayston played Peter Guillam in the BBC's 1970's series of 'Tinker Tailor' (the 1st in the trilogy). To have him narrating this unabridged version really enhances the story as he clearly understands the parts he is portraying.
This audiobook will definitely enhance your appreciation of Le Carre's writing and the Smiley series in particular. Clear and precise speech, and the individual characterisation is wonderful.
Another engaging and thought provoking novel by John le Carre. It is a pity he is known primarily as the writer of excellent spy novels, i.e. thrilling plots, rather than simply as an excellent writer. His powers of observation, the description of settings and characters, the analysis of their motives and his skills as a writer should have been awarded a prize long ago.
Michael Jayston does the author justice with his reading. He is one of the great narrators of audiobooks. Amongst his merits is the ability to pronounce most foreign names without mangling them - quite an achievement in an era where the majority narrators no longer trouble to research the pronunciation of foreign words, often rendering them utterly incomprehensible.
Buy this book. It is worth every penny.
I know it's probably a bit old fashioned now but it's still a really good spy thriller. This is the first Le carre book I have ever read because I always had in mind that they were hard to get into and very slow. I was wrong. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Nice to be reminded of how things worked in the old days of the cold war which many people under a certain age won't even be aware of. Good narration too.
I read the book when it first came out years ago. At the time I felt that it was a bit of a let-down compared to the two previous novels, 'Tinker, Tailor' and 'The Honourable Schoolboy'. Having revisited it with this reading, I feel I was too harsh. Maybe I have just got used to poorer fare from lesser authors. This is high quality Le Carre, and for anyone steeped in the books from years back, it is like welcoming an old friend and wondering why it has taken so long.
The characters are life-like; flawed but in a realistic, patchy way rather than the black-and-white of many inferior thrillers. Even though you know the ending, the journey is the thing, with our old gunslinger on one last, lonely quest. If you do not know it, I will not spoil it, but it is a lovely finish to the Smiley saga. The pace is better than I remember. It is certainly better than the TV series, which I suspect the BBC felt needed to appeal to a broader audience given the success of 'Tinker, Tailor'.
Last words need to go to Michael Jayston; a veteran of the original TV series (though not 'Smiley's People') and of many Le Carre readings. He absolutely nails this book, clearly reveres the Sir Alec Guinness characterisation and brings it to life superbly.
This is a joy to listen to and has proven the perfect Le Carre introduction for my wife. Now she knows what I have been banging on about.
Those that recognise the name of Michael Jayston from the BBC dramatisation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy will love the fact that Peter Guillam reads this version.
Jayston does a masterful job of bringing this tale to life (although he does do a couple of dodgy European accents!) - I was captivated all the way though.
Make sure you download in enhanced quality, even on a mobile device. The massive compression Audible put on the recordings can marr your enjoyment if, like me, you are fussy about these things.
Not a spare word or a spare deed. Classic le Carre. It has been a long time since I read this, and I hardly ever read a book twice. This was well worth it for the fine prose, and a brilliantly constructed plot. The reading seemed slightly slow to me, but on the other hand, with no repetition it was not a story you could take at a gallop. Modern writers can still learn much from this master.
This is a wonderful sequel to the sublime Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. In addition to the excitement of this gripping tale of espionage, Le Carre addresses notions such as compassion, moral ambiguity and human frailty. His characters are often flawed human beings, at times full of contradictions regarding duty and service. George Smiley is one of the great fictional characters. I loved this novel and have read it many times but somehow it is even better through the voice of the narrator Michael Jayston- he is, as ever, superb.
I enjoyed this boook very much. I remember the series and wanted to see how different the book it was to that. I was surprised at the detail added and the narration was easy to listen to.
George Smiley is one of John Le Carre's most interesting creations. There is so much depth to his character. His motivations and justifications emerge starkly and honestly. He is a man driven by the need to do the right thing; knowing that people are put at risk in the attempt. Such skilful narratives and clear characterisation are worthy of praise. Michael Jayston is perfect as a narrator for books like this.
Wonderfully narrated by Michael Jayston this is a really evocative production of a brilliant book. Hard to recommend this too highly.
Michael Jayston gives such a wonderful performance, you can't imagine anyone else reading Le Carré. He is George Smiley to perfection.
"Best stories I've ever heard"
Tried to switch for another author after listening for two books in succession, but hardly finished listening for mere part. I rushed back to my third title, and was stunned by the great relief I felt the minute I started again. John Le Carre, for my mind, is a genius of truly intellectual novels. I'm not a native speaker, so I excitedly enjoyed learning the language of his books.
"Great book - great plot - great Smiley"
This book is one of my all time favourite booksh. Alongside Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy this my absolute favourite Le Carre novel.
I don't normally compare, I enjoy both in different reasons. I enjoy Audio books in the Car on my commute and If I am travelling.
The written books I enjoy if I get a free couple of hours.
George Smiley, a close second Peter guillam and Oliver Lacon. George has a conscience which must be both an asset and a liability in the Job. He is never allowed to just retire and maybe he just can't whilst Karla is sitting atop moscow centre.
Peter isn't as central as he was in Tinker Tailor or The Honourable Schoolboy, but I think he looks to George more like an Uncle than a Friend and Colleague. He never really gets the full picture from George until last and George seems to protect Peter from Sol Enderby and Co.
I seen so many Oliver Lacons in my career. He is Georges superior but Oliver needs George more that George needs Oliver. George is the type of Journeyman in a firm that knows his stuff, knows how things work etc and Oliver has the top job and needs George to keep him looking good.
This time Oliver's wife has left him and I think he suddenly realises the pain George must have felt over his difficult marriage to Ann. He wants George's advice but George does what a real friend would do and let Oliver talk without giving advice.
Excellent as Usual.
During the interogation in Switzerland, without giving away the plot. George is compared to Karla. This is the beginning of the conclusion when George realises that he has become his nemesis.
Although I Enjoyed the Book. The Ending was very Swift and Bare. Both in the Honourable Schoolboy and Smileys people I just felt that there could have been more to say. For example what happened at Sarratt afterwards with their Golddust etc.
What became of George, Peter and Oliver. After reading the trio They have become like family. What became of the circus etc.
This is my only gripe with the last two books in the Karla triolgy
"HARD WORK LISTENING"
I don't know, some one who thinks it makes them cool by saying it is enjoyable
Some enthusiam from the reader. & I do not like to critize readers but this is hard work
unfortunately around 80%
In all honesty I didn't listen to the entire book. I struggled for the first half, started on the second half but could not take it any more. I have put it away for when I feel strong enough to take the rest.
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