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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le…
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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974)

by John le Carré

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: George Smiley novels (5), The Karla Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,4931771,021 (4.03)438
British agent George Smiley hunts for a mole in the Secret Service and begins his epic game of international chess with his Soviet counterpart, an agent named Karla.
Recently added byjclapese, FrostScarlet, denis.henry, MiloDenn, private library, carlypancakes, Yrrol, RajLT, Serrana, tgmeis
Legacy LibrariesNewton 'Bud' Flounders
  1. 20
    The Honourable Schoolboy by John le Carré (longway)
  2. 10
    Game, Set & Match (Berlin Game ; Mexico Set ; London Match) by Len Deighton (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: Another great trilogy.
  3. 00
    Declare by Tim Powers (LamontCranston)
  4. 00
    A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré (dajashby)
  5. 00
    The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (tandah)
    tandah: A different era, but similar pacing and sense of foreboding.
  6. 11
    The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: More perfect atmosphere.
  7. 11
    The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carré (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: Setting the oeuvre.
  8. 12
    The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross (wvlibrarydude)
  9. 27
    Red Rabbit by Tom Clancy (Hedgepeth)
    Hedgepeth: Red Rabbit is any early case in Jack Ryans career that is not as action driven as some of the other novels. It moves a little faster than Tinker, Tailor but should still appeal to those who appreciate a more methodical pace.
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» See also 438 mentions

English (167)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (177)
Showing 1-5 of 167 (next | show all)
just ok. Did not live up to my expectations ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
There’s a molle in the secret service and George Smiley is brought out of retirement to find him. Smiley has made appearances in previous novels but here he is centre stage. He’s an anti-spy hero. He’s no suave, dinner-suited, debonair dandy. But the pudgy, “ordinary” Smiley is unflappable, focused and phlegmatic and gets the results of his cooler fiction counterparts. This is a great portrayal of people under pressure. The le Carré trademarks are all here: great characterisation of people and place, tension and great writing. Fans who haven’t already read it, will enjoy it. The critics rate it as one of his best to this point. I’ve enjoyed them all.
( )
  Neil_333 | Mar 6, 2020 |
While perhaps not as actin orientated as most people have come to expect from a spy novel, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, is nonetheless a gripping read. Smiley himself left me cold, but that didn't matter because Jim Prideaux is the heart of the story. While the betrayal of a country may seem too alien for us to empathise with, the personal betrayal Jim suffers is enough to inspire a burning need to know who the mole is. The only complaint I have is that at times it can become confusing with the numerous names and unfamiliar terminology that Le Carre uses. ( )
  Fardo | Oct 15, 2019 |
I had to read this at least twice to understand all the twists and turns. A great spy novel turned into a classic BBC series starring Alec Guinness as George Smiley ( )
  AnthonyGLast | Oct 14, 2019 |
This is the first book of this type I have read - and I enjoyed it. Between the world of espionage, who the mole is, and russion operatives, its an incredible book.

As for the characters - each was their own person. A few times, characters were dramatized too much, such as as Connie. Other times it was hard to figure out what was happening, but thats okay, neither does George Smiley. A reader has a window into the chaos that is data analysis, and its not easy. A great book, well written, and a very enjoyable read. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Sep 28, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 167 (next | show all)
10 of the Greatest Cold War Spy Novels
“Like Fleming, Le Carré (real name: David John Moore Cornwall) worked for British intelligence. But where Fleming used his WW 2 experiences as a springboard for fantasy, Le Carre turned his Cold War service into grimly realistic novels. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1963) trumped Deighton as a response to James Bond’s glamourous world of espionage, and he continues to turn out fine work to this day. Tinker charts the search for a Soviet mole in the upper echelons of British intelligence, providing Le Carré’s signature character – the low-key professional George Smiley – with a late-in-the-game chance to reclaim his standing in the Circus (MI6), made bittersweet by betrayal. A fine BBC serialization in 1974 was followed by an equally well-received feature-film version in 2011.”
 
Karla is finally lured across a Berlin bridge and into the West. But, again, what figure is cut by the evil mastermind when he appears? “He wore a grimy shirt and a black tie: he looked like a poor man going to the funeral of a friend.” Le Carré has never written a better sentence, one so impatient of ideology and so attentive to what he, following W. H. Auden, describes plainly as “the human situation.” The television series of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” has lost none of its grip, and the new film will recruit new friends to the cause; but if we seek George Smiley and his people, with their full complement of terrors, illusions, and shames, we should follow the example of the ever-retiring Smiley, and go back to our books. That’s the truth
added by John_Vaughan | editNew Yorker, Anthony Lane (Dec 14, 2011)
 
The power of the novel is that le Carré transfigured espionage – its techniques, failures and deceptions – into a rich metaphor combining national decay, the disintegration of certainties with advancing age, the impossibility of knowing another human being's mind, the fragility of all trust and loyalty.
added by thorold | editThe Observer, Neal Ascherson (Sep 11, 2011)
 
"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" is fluently written; it is full of vivid character sketches of secret agents and bureaucrats from all levels of British society , and the dialogue catches their voices well. The social and physical details of English life and the day to day activities of the intelligence service at home and abroad are convincing. Unlike many writers Le Carré is at his best showing men hard at work; he is fascinated by the office politics of the agency since the war.
added by John_Vaughan | editNY Times, Richard Locke (Jul 20, 1974)
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
le Carré, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davidson, FrederickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Greenburger, FrancescoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jayston, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laing, TimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Soellner, HeddaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Soellner, RolfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, MattCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woolfitt, AdamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Tinker,
Tailor,
Soldier,
Sailor,
Rich Man,
Poor Man,
Beggarman,
Thief.

Small children's fortune-telling rhyme used when counting cherry stones, waistcoat buttons, daisy petals, or the seeds of the Timothy grass.
- from the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes
Dedication
For James Bennett and Dusty Rhodes in memory.
First words
The truth is, if old Major Dover hadn't dropped dead at Taunton races Jim would never have come to Thursgood's at all.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Is he friend or foe?
Spying is no nurs'ry rhyme
Control suspects all
(pickupsticks)
Smiley and Control
Team up to capture the mole
Deep must they burrow
(pickupsticks)

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