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Smiley's People by John le Carré

Smiley's People (original 1979; edition 2009)

by John le Carré

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3,047351,860 (4.14)142
Title:Smiley's People
Authors:John le Carré
Info:Sceptre (2009), Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library

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Smiley's People by John le Carré (1979)


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English (31)  Spanish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Catalan (1)  All (35)
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Unexpectedly I found this the most satisfying instalment of the trilogy that began with [book:Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy|11821566]; there's a clearness to the storyline that reminded me much more of George Smiley's very first appearance, in [book:Call for the Dead|18715700].

Plus I love stories of old spies proving themselves in a world that's cast them aside; GoldenEye is my favourite Bond films, and I even sat through Bullet to Beijing. This is one of the good ones, though. Long before it was fashionable to make every plot personal for the protagonist, Smiley is back to get the man who robbed him of his life's work (not to mention his cigarette lighter and wife).

Smiley is too staid and introverted to admit that, but it's there. None of the Circus's current generation of proto-Thatcherites are interested in bringing down an old Soviet spymaster (all the people he slipped past are gone or on their way out, and besides the Cold War is so very cold) but for Smiley bringing down Karla means his life will have been worth something.

The final scene at the Berlin Wall is perfect. Smiley and Karla pass without any direct contact, just as they have conducted their entire battle. But for that single moment they are caught together, picked out in the halo of the same street lamp. Perfect

Le Carré's best. ( )
  m_k_m | Apr 28, 2017 |
This is one of those books that I can already tell I shall have to reread. The conclusion to the "Quest for Karla" trilogy drops us right into the middle of the action -- an old woman in Paris is being followed by a sinister Russian intelligence type, but what does he want? Eventually we receive clues as to how she fits in with the events that follow and ultimately lead to a showdown with Smiley's arch-nemesis, Karla, which is handled most satisfactorily and feels a lot like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. In the middle though I found my attention flagging, having to reread paragraphs to orient myself in the story. Perhaps I shall try my luck with the miniseries and then come back to it. I would still definitely recommend this to fans of le Carré. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Mar 19, 2017 |
Very satisfying conclusion to the Karla trilogy. Smiley is one of the classic British characters, up there with Sherlock Holmes for me. ( )
  kale.dyer | Aug 8, 2016 |
irst of all I have to say that this book is one of the best spy thrillers I’ve ever read.

The plot is slow, but in a good way. There are several characters involved, some more important than others, but everybody fits in the story. Sometimes it may seem that things don’t make sense and you may wonder how some of the characters are connected, but everything makes sense when you reach the end. All the questions you had while reading will be answered.

The main character is George Smiley. In this book he is already retired and living a quiet life until he has to go back to his job. People who are expecting lots of action and bullets will be disappointed. Smiley’s greatest weapon is not a gun or a knife. It’s his mind.

Something I liked about this book is that the bad people (bad from Smiley’s point of view) don’t behave the way they do just because of the Soviet Union. It is interesting to see how most of them have more personal reasons and how those are discovered.

This is an amazing story that I recommend to everybody who likes good spy novels set during the Cold War. ( )
  Hellen0 | Jun 22, 2016 |
This was not as satisfying as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, though it was still worthwhile. I think this is because the world of Smiley has less mystery now than before Tinker and therefore less suspense is possible. Additionally, this plot shows Karla in a human dilemma which, though interesting, is less immediately exciting than having to find a mole. To the end Smiley keeps his ethics and is saddened by what he must do in his attempt to capture Karla. Smiley is a great character. He is not the forever fit James Bond type, but a regular human with strengths and weaknesses. This book is recommended for anyone who enjoyed Tinker. ( )
  karmiel | Aug 16, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
In "Smiley's People," Smiley works both worlds, is both detective and agent at risk. I won"t disclose the oblique, slow-moving plot, except to say that a trail of murder and camouflage leads Smiley to Hamburg and Paris and Berne, and that the stakes are especially high for him, since his old archenemy, the daunting mastermind in charge of the Thirteenth Directorate of Russian Intelligence, appears to have made an uncharacteristic slip. Smiley's boss in London jokingly refers to Holmes and Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls, but even Smiley himself hears "the drum-beat of his own past, summoning him to one last effort to externalise and resolve the conflict he had lived by." That's a touch too literary, sounding more like le Carré's problem than Smiley's, and Smiley's next image catches a little more of the case: "It was just possible, against all the odds, that he had been given, in late age, a chance to return to the rained-out contests of his life and play them after all."
added by John_Vaughan | editNY Times, Michael Wood (Jul 20, 1980)

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carré, John leprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davidson, FrederickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
González Trejo, HoracioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laing, TimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Soellner, HeddaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Soellner, RolfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my sons, Simon, Stephen, Timothy and Nicholas,
with love

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Two seemingly unconnected events heralded the summons of Mr George Smiley from his dubious retirement.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743455800, Paperback)

John le Carre's classic novels deftly navigate readers through the intricate shadow worlds of international espionage with unsurpassed skill and knowledge and have earned him -- and his hero, British Secret Service agent George Smiley -- unprecedented worldwide acclaim.

Rounding off his astonishing vision of a clandestine world, master storyteller le Carre perfects his art in "Smiley's People."

In London at dead of night, George Smiley, sometime acting Chief of the Circus (aka the British Secret Service), is summoned from his lonely bed by news of the murder of an ex-agent. Lured back to active service, Smiley skillfully maneuvers his people -- "the no-men of no-man's land" -- into crisscrossing Paris, London, Germany, and Switzerland as he prepares for his own final, inevitable duel on the Berlin border with his Soviet counterpart and archenemy, Karla.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:06 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

George Smiley and Karla, his mortal enemy, have a final confrontation in the Soviet Union.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 17 descriptions

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