Book reviews

I couldn’t figure out what was going on in John Le Carre’s Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy and was so bored by the politics and the jargon of the spy-games the characters were playing that I didn’t finish the book.

I loved the first chapter which told of a new school teacher arriving at a boy’s school sometime in the 1970s. Bill Roach, one of the students, was fascinated by Jim Prideaux, his car, his trailer, his military style and his easy way with the boys he teaches. I read far enough into the book to learn that Jim was a former spy who had been injured during a former spy operation.

In chapter two the story moved to George Smiley, a has-been spy whose job it was to figure out who was the mole (double-agent Russian spy) in the Circus (British Intelligence). Suddenly a cast of thousands arrived in the story, including a spy who had previously been thought to have defected to the Russians. This was when things got too complicated for me.

I lost faith in George’s ability to work out what was going on in the Circus when I learned his wife was messing around with one of his colleagues. Since I didn’t finish the book, I don’t know if either story line was resolved.

Obviously my opinion should not be taken as the last word on this subject as John Le Carre is one of the most respected and beloved writers in this field. I’m not very good at keeping secrets, whatever I’m thinking shows on my face and I can’t understand why all of our countries can’t just get along, so perhaps I should have realised earlier that spy novels are not for me.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was book fourteen in my Classics Club challenge to read 50 classics before my challenge end date of August 26, 2023.

Comments on: "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carre" (4)

  1. Oh dear, this is a pity, especially as it’s on my own TBR! I did enjoy The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, but this sounds much more complicated. I only occasionally like spy novels – Helen Dunmore’s Exposure is excellent and much more your kind of thing, I’d guess, if you ever decide to dip your toe in the water again…

  2. I think you would enjoy Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy much more than I did.
    I read Exposure and loved it think you suggested it – you’re consistent in your recommendations πŸ˜€

  3. Hahaha – I must update my list of books to recommend… πŸ˜‰

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