“it is also the pardonable vanity of lonely people everywhere to assume that they have no counterparts.”
It was a much longer book than Tinkerer, Tailor I had a much harder time following it. These Le Carre books more or less play with the conventions I, as a pop culture enthusiast, expect of a spy novel. There is no great battle, there is no bad guy explaining his plot while holding the hero at laser slightly below crotch point. The books are slow, methodical and realistic.
At least I assume they’re realistic, they were recommended to me by my stepfather who says he can’t tell me what he did while in the army, so I’m going to take his word for it.
Beyond the actual plot of, honestly I’m not really sure still what the hell they were trying to accomplish, you get the characters of Peter Gullium, Jerry Westerby and the enigmatic George Smiley.
Smiley is the center of this universe, the novels featuring him aren’t billed as “George Smiley novels” because the character has nothing to offer. He is the lonely man who has nothing but his work and his country. He is the mentor for the two other characters, those who will follow them into hell and those who will break with him. Le Carre’s narrative mostly sticks to a strict account of events, but every few pages he adds an artistic flourish, like the above line which was used to describe why George was unable to pick up on his operative’s own depressions, because he was too wrapped up in his own. Or when the same operative is leading the girl he has decided to look after away to try and save her the phrase “That’s the way it goes, he thought: you come back to tell her you love her and end up by marching her at gunpoint.”
I’m going to look forward to finishing the Carla trilogy and later on I’m sure I’ll read some more of the George Smiley books. This one has set me behind on my reading goals a bit, I’m going to try and start reading more poetry books and I’m reading through the Preacher graphic novels series, so I should be able to make up some ground.