Monday, November 12, 2012
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carré
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is the original spy thriller. I have to admit that I saw the movie first and I'm glad I did. The story was confusing at times and being able to picture the actors playing the characters helped. Aside from the confusion, I did enjoy the writing in Tinker Tailor. It is very subtle. This is a spy thriller but the action is muted. There is also the language. If my understanding is correct Le Carré invented the language of the modern spy thriller.
The plot is simple but the story is complicated. Almost retired George Smiley is called back into action to hunt for a mole. There is a suspicion that the Soviets have a mole that has made it up into the upper echelons of British intelligence. Arguably what happens isn't so much important as the characters. It takes a certain kind of personality to not only survive but thrive in the secretive world of intelligence where everyone is lying or least keeping secrets. Le Carré creates a cast of interesting characters that aren't what I expected. There is no super spy. If you're expecting the likes of James Bond, look elsewhere. There are no flashy cars and very little gun play. George Smiley is the exact opposite of James Bond. In fact ordinariness seems to be the key to being a successful spy and maintaining a spy network.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is the first in a trilogy. I'm not sure if I'll read the rest of trilogy but I'm glad I read this. At the very least I got to a read a classic.