Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

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Out of date, perhaps, but who wasn't these days? Out of date, but loyal to his own time.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

At a certain moment, after all, every man chooses: There was nothing dishonourable in not being blown about by every little modern wind. Better to have worth, to entrench, to be an oak of one's own generation. There is only one reason for doing something. And that's because you want to. Smiley was not one of them.


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Each of us has only a quantum of compassion. That if we lavish our concern on every stray cat, we never get to the centre of things.

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We sit according to our natures. We sprawl and straddle, we rest like boxers between rounds, we fidget, perch, cross and uncross our legs, lose patience, lose endurance. View all 6 comments. Of course the book is about many other things besides love: Still, though, the book is about love: Above all the other loves in the book, though, there is one love who binds closest to herself those whom she betrays, the compromised goddess who requires devotion most particularly from her disillusioned devotees.

Smiley, true to Ann, is true to her as well: Brittania, old England herself. View all 3 comments. Who can spy on the spies? For the initiated the Circus. Author himself worked there for many years and thanks to it I have no problems with his credibility. We get to know world of intelligence, its structure, jargon.

Babysitters, lamplighters , ferrets, shoemakers, scalphunters. Intelligence work it is not guns and Who can spy on the spies? Intelligence work it is not guns and fast cars and agents themselves look more like tired office workers. We are in the middle of cold war and here nothing is what it seems. And people from MI6 have to struggle not only with outside threat but most off all with enemy in own ranks. Because in the Circus there is a mole spying for Russian.

LeCarre has populated agency with well drawn, diverse characters. George Smiley, apparently slowcoach but in fact fiendishly intelligent and patient, charming Haydon, Prideux - a patriot and a soldier, Toby Esterhaze - a toady, Percy Alleline - fishy careerist, Tarr — young tearaway, loyal Guillam and the boss, Control. Believe me, there was more action than in any thriller and observing the investigation and set a trap was more exciting than any pursuit. There is a really thin line between us and them. But after reading some disquieting thoughts hatching up in your head.

So, welcome to the Circus. View all 9 comments. I didn't understand half of what I just read, and yet I loved it all the same! Former agent George Smiley is called back from retirement to ferret him out. This is more of a psychological suspense novel than an action-filled James Bond spy thriller. Smiley is getting up there in years and though he's conversa I didn't understand half of what I just read, and yet I loved it all the same! Smiley is getting up there in years and though he's conversant with a handgun, he's not about to go galavanting about blasting up the countryside.

The whole novel is much more sedate than you might expect when you think of "spy thriller". And yet in ways, this book is undeniably thrilling! Here, I think this passage from Wikipedia explains it better: Most of Cornwell's novels are spy stories set during the Cold War —91 and feature Circus agents as unheroic political functionaries aware of the moral ambiguity of their work and engaged in psychological more than physical drama. Much of the conflict is internal, rather than external and visible. When you read a book like this, you get the distinct impression that the author has lived this life.

You can't whip out that kind of jargon and insight with only a casual acquaintance with the topic.

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I've read a few spy novels before and this makes them look childish in comparison. The writing itself is topnotch. The character crafting, the stage setting, and the nuance of plot all come off so seamlessly. View all 4 comments. Robert Newman and Marshall Presnick. Well, now I'm going to rush out to get more Le Carre. I didn't give this five stars because it was a touch slow to get moving. I think if I'd just been able to focus a little more, I would've been into the plot faster.

Le Carre has this ability to make every character a mystery.

So much is withheld from the reader, and yet the characters are fascinating. I think what put me off about the beginning of the book is that I became very interested in Jim Prideaux, then had to shift gears to Smiley. Eventually, I got into the Smiley stuff, but at first, I just kept waiting for Prideaux to come back, and he didn't for a good long while.

The way Le Carre describes the "secret world" of intelligence work is just incomparable. The details, the jargon which, in the introduction, he reveals he mostly made up! My personal favorite scene in the story is when Peter Guillam steals the Operation Testify file from the Circus archives. That the archives of Britain's intelligence service are located on a street of shops, next to a coffee shop, and marked as a teacher's entrance for a school or something like that.

Not guarded, in the traditional sense, no big barriers around it. Just a door that you'd never notice. Unless of course you'd been told to notice it. That's the essence of Le Carre, and precisely what makes this book so damn great. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is not my type of book. I never read stuff like this. The action takes place during the early seventies.

So here I am. First off, I have to say Le Carre writes with amazing detail. I got to know them, slowly, intuitively, especially since Le Carre never tells you what you should think of them or explains them. He just lets the reader develop their own opinion. At first I felt like I had started a new job.

There are so many characters, and no one can be cataloged in a nice neat box. To my surprise though, this sense of confusion actually made me pay closer attention. I loved being just thrown in there. I do believe it hit me on a deeper level too since I dreamed about this book. D Were the characters likable? I liked Smiley a lot, but I would hate to work with him. It was great being inside his head though. You can tell he unnerves people. They want to needle him. The other characters were great too.

Percy is a worm. Jim is tragic and compelling. As you can see, I definitely had an opinion about everybody. Of course, all these different motives and dynamics make the book seem strangely complicated, yet the story is simple. There are a lot of mind games. This brings me to the part of the book though, which I think was lacking.

I think the lack of action and danger made this a somewhat dry read. The beginning is slow. And while yes there are conversations and confrontations that are dynamic and thrilling, not much happens. Le Carre is a great writer. View all 14 comments. I freely admit that I am not smart enough to appreciate this book. The whole thing was way too convoluted for me. First I was in one character's head, then another, then back to the first.

Then there was a third character who mostly made cameo appearances and was clearly unimportant, but we spend time in his head too. As if that's not confusing enough, different people narrate different parts of the story as master spy George Smiley highly distracting name, I must say interviews different playe I freely admit that I am not smart enough to appreciate this book.

As if that's not confusing enough, different people narrate different parts of the story as master spy George Smiley highly distracting name, I must say interviews different players who describe their experiences to him. Sometimes we're flashing back to George's memories; sometimes we're learning what George is reading in the archives in the present day although it feels like it might be a flashback.

Eventually this all ties together, but I lacked the patience or motivation to understand how or why. The absence of a character about whom I cared even a little only added to my increasing disengagement from and disenchantment with the book. I spent most of the book wanting to quit but persevering in the hope that I would eventually get why this was a great book. Eventually I ended up finishing it just to be sure I wasn't missing something. But it seems I was.

Apparently this is a classic and much-imitated spy novel. Maybe this isn't the genre for me then. View all 20 comments. For espionage thrillers, this is as good as it gets. The setting is the Cold War, and both the Britain and Russia are tired but still engaging in lethal combat by spy.

One central theme that I did not appreciate before this re-read is that the primary conflict, even when Le Carre tells the story from a British POV, is not between British spies and the Russians, but between Russia and America, with British spies taking sides, not always as expected. The conflict between personal and patriotic motives plays out dramatically in each of the major characters.

I can't close without a word of pity for poor Smiley, whose wife has apparently become a promiscuous tramp. Was this transition described in one of the other Smiley books? In any case, it is extraordinary for the lead character to suffer this fate. British spies in fact and fiction It is still terrific. I think everything I can think of to say has already been said in the many fine reviews others have already offered. I remember that when I read this and the other Karla novels years ago, I ripped through them to the detriment of my understanding of all the twists and turns of the plot.

So although I enjoyed them immensely, when I was all finished and even during the reading I felt confused about what story le Carre had actually told. Again, I enjoyed it no end, but while the 7 hour condensation of the story had to I remember that when I read this and the other Karla novels years ago, I ripped through them to the detriment of my understanding of all the twists and turns of the plot. Again, I enjoyed it no end, but while the 7 hour condensation of the story had to have a much simplified plot, I again felt during and after that I wasn't fully comprehending the story.

These experiences I think say something about the problems I have always had with short term memory. I am left with the question, do I read the books again, with extra attention, or note-taking, or whatever, to see if I can finally comprehend the entire magnificent labyrinth that le Carre has constructed in these books?

I would love to, but life is short, especially at my age. It's hard not to conclude that time would be better spent even more enjoyably? See my favs-read-more-than-once shelf. This is, after all, a spy novel, not War and Peace never read now read! Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist Next review: The Black Swan Previous library review: Oft billed as the "anti-Ian Flemming," John Le Carre inverts all the typical trappings of the spy-thriller: Note that "quietly," as the tension here is all cerebral, the violence and spectacle off-stage, and the stakes themselves, though no less dire than the fate of the world, are entirely i Oft billed as the "anti-Ian Flemming," John Le Carre inverts all the typical trappings of the spy-thriller: Note that "quietly," as the tension here is all cerebral, the violence and spectacle off-stage, and the stakes themselves, though no less dire than the fate of the world, are entirely ideological.

The Cold War assurance of mutual destruction provides the British imagination with a field of conflict perfectly tailored to the restriction of overt or "hot" action Smiley's also impotent , which is then carefully sublimated through elaborately mannered, gentlemanly games of intelligence and subterfuge. Himself a former blown secret agent for MI6, Le Carre writes with all the authority and flare one would expect from a once genuine article, though without all the lurid technical gun-fetishism of a Tom Clancy or Ian Flemming.

A great deal of the prose is composed of contextually self-evident turns of phrase that seems to have bucked a number of readers at this site--while not jargon, this writing style suggests a world behind the world more interested in demonstrating, rather than explaining, itself. Just one of those perfect books. It was a great synchronicity that this popped up on one of my reading lists right now, as one of my gaming groups is about to embark on a game of Cold City, set in post-War Berlin, playing representatives of different countries in BPRD-like surroundings.

The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here. In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook. How amazing--a spy novel where virtually nothing happens, and yet it's compelling and suspenseful nonetheless.

It's really a testament to le Carre's writing that he pulls this off. A wonderfully cerebral work. Apparently I'm turning into a really shitty reader. Picturing George as a human and not a muppet made the reading more difficult than I had intended. See first note about becoming a really shitty reader.


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And in my current mood I wanted some violence. And by "violence" I mean some freaking action. Car chases, sword-play, maybe some poison or something. In other words, I wanted a story that went somewhere. This is not that book. What this book has is puzzles! Which is all fine and dandy, but gracious, if I was in the mood for puzzles I'd pull out my crosswords. The one time in my life I'm not in the mood to figure out a puzzle and this is the book I choose to read. I'm not ashamed to say that I read this primarily because there's a new movie version out with my celebrity sugar-daddy in it, Gary Oldman.

He's decidedly not at all a muppet, and I have to say that the previews look pretty exciting. But that's Hollywood for you.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Wikipedia

This is a worthless review. Whatever, you should read it, I'm sure you'll like it. I for one am still excited to see the movie. If the first half of the movie is as slow as the first half of the book, though, I'll require extra popcorn to make up for it. I'm including this on my Eastern-Central-European-Lit shelf because of all the talky-talk of Prague, the land of my people. Actually that made me just bump this book up to a 3-star read. View all 29 comments. So Smiley has not retired with dignity, but rather has been ousted for backing a jaded horse.

The head of Circus, a spy so skilled that people only knew him as "Control," went out in a blaze of tragedy, and Smiley's career was one of the casualties. Unknown to most, Control was trying to find a mole. He failed and the Circus has been reorganized. Now, however, one of the Circus's spies surfaces with a suspicious tale of betrayal.

In Hong Kong, he has heard rumors of a mole placed right at the top of the Circus. So who watches the watchmen? Smiley had been forced into retirement by the departure of Control, but is asked by a senior government figure to investigate a story told to him by a rogue agent, Ricky Tarr, that there was a mole. Smiley considers that the failure of the Hungary operation and the continuing success of Operation Witchcraft an apparent source of significant Soviet intelligence confirms this, and takes up the task of finding him.

Written by David Brain. The first episode of the BBC series sets the tone perfectly, introducing the key players and telling us what kind of people they are, all by just having them enter a room for a meeting without saying a word. The trouble with the movie version is that we never get the chance to know the characters. They are faceless people with difficult names and we don't care which one of them is the bad guy.

I have read the book at least three times, seen the TV series twice and was still totally confused by the movie. Anyone who hasn't read the book, I would suggest, doesn't stand a chance.

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The grimy landscape around the Hotel Islay was nicely done. But why make every scene grimy? Where was the circus? Where were the lights of Shaftsbury Avenue? Where were the green fields around Jim Prideaux's prep school? The key scene with Connie Sachs is destroyed by a totally out-of-place crudity and the climax, when the mole is revealed, is thrown away with zero drama. What was going on? Start your free trial. Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet!

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a dense puzzle of anxiety, paranoia, and espionage that director Tomas Alfredson pieces together with utmost skill. The movie is riveting in the exact sense of the word: We feel nailed to the screen in the impossible task of working out what is going on-let alone why it matters. A deliberate, cerebral, grim and utterly absorbing film that makes covert operations appear as unsexy as the Bourne films made them seem fast-paced and thrilling.

Ultimately, though, it is very much Oldman's film, thanks to a restrained tour de force performance. Smiley is weathered, worn and beaten down by life, but he's also a quiet, sure force of something that resembles good. So beautifully executed and so visually absorbing and so atmospherically hypnotic that I wonder this: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a wonderfully stylised piece that accepts the importance of visual aesthetics without losing any substance in terms of plot or narrative action.

It starts slow, and a bit confusing for those not familiar with the novels, but builds to intensity, creating a taut, sinister spy story for grown-ups. Tinker, Tailor is a smart-but-hardly-heady genre piece which picks a handful of influences and boils them down to into pliable notions that can then be used to form a style; as far as utterly derivative filmmaking goes, it's pretty damn good.

From top to toe this is one of the best crafted, best acted, most tautly presented thrillers I've seen in a really long time. A complex espionage thriller that makes impeccable use of a careful pace to stretch the tension to its maximum and an appropriately dark cinematography to recreate the paranoia of the '70s and the Cold War maneuvers, while Gary Oldman underacts in a perfect performance. Spy thriller that is a little too slow and uneventful for it's own good. Yes, sometimes there is a well paced shock, and overall the investigation is interesting enough. But there is no real twist to it and it all ends somewhat anticlimatic.

The cast is outstanding as far as names go, but most of them remain somewhat underchallenged thanks to the intentionally bleak look and pace of the film. It's slow, complex, stimulating and uncompromising; basically an average movie-goer's nightmare. An ex spy for MI6 is called out of retirement to uncover a Russian double agent in the top echelons of their organisation. The one thing that can be said in favour of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is that it reeks of quality. The exceptional ensemble cast present what can only be described as an acting master class and the direction, photography and production design are all top notch.

The problem with the film lies with its script, but that's not to say that it's badly written; quite the contrary in fact. The dialogue is smart, the themes sophisticated and characters well drawn. The trouble lies with the fact that this Cold War world of secrecy, back stabbing and betrayal seems so alien in the internet age that it's quite difficult to involve yourself in the dense, convoluted story. I couldn't connect emotionally with any of these cold-hearted and detached individuals and the fact of the matter was that I didn't really care who the mole was. Technically marvellous but those looking for a cinematic quick fix will find Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy too much like hard work.

More Top Movies Trailers Forums. Apocalypse Better Call Saul: Season 4 Castle Rock: Season 1 The Deuce: Season 2 Fear the Walking Dead: Season 3 The Walking Dead: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy View All Photos Based on the classic novel of the same name, the international thriller is set at the height of the Cold War years of the midth Century. George Smiley Gary Oldman , a disgraced British spy, is rehired in secret by his government - which fears that the British Secret Intelligence Service, a.

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MI-6, has been compromised by a double agent working for the Soviets.