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Question for John le Carre fans

(17 Posts)
Betzi Thu 06-Dec-12 18:04:14

Having seen and enjoyed the film of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy recently I thought I'd have a go at reading some of le Carre's other novels. The only one I could find in my local library is A Murder of Quality - does it matter if I read this before Call for the Dead or will I enjoy them more if I read them "in order"? Thanks!

OP’s posts: |
UptoapointLordCopper Thu 06-Dec-12 20:39:34

A murder of quality is nothing to do with Smiley's role as a spy, if I remember correctly. I read quite a few of the Smiley novels in no particular order a long time ago but don't remember being disturbed by the "wrong" order.

Have you heard the BBC radio 4 adaptation? I'd say they are better than the films. Certainly I like TTSS on audio better than the Gary Oldman film. And I've just listened to The Honourable Schoolboy on my journeys to work. It makes you wish for traffic jams so you don't get there too quickly!

Betzi Fri 07-Dec-12 10:49:28

Great, I will get it out. And thanks for the tip about the audio versions of the other books - sounds good - I will see if I can track them down.

OP’s posts: |
KatharineClifton Fri 07-Dec-12 16:58:51

It does add to Smiley's characterisation. Don't let it put you off the others though as it's a rather odd little book and perhaps not his best.

MrMeaner Sat 08-Dec-12 00:59:43

I find some of the newer stuff a little more accessible - The Constant Gardener in particular.
The Little Drummer Girl is excellent as well - dated in some aspects, but very contemporary from the political situation.

CoteDAzur Sat 08-Dec-12 07:29:28

Read Charles Cumming's spy books if you don't want to read dated novels about the cold war.

John Le Carre's old books are good but they are terribly dated. Some of the new ones are very weak - A Most Wanted Man & Absolute Friends, for example. It feels like he is not as knowledgeable about how things currently work in the world of espionage.

Read a couple of books by Charles Cumming, and you will see what I mean.

UptoapointLordCopper Sat 08-Dec-12 09:25:30

Tailor of Panama is one of the most depressing books I've ever read. And Mission Song really worries me (being a foreigner myself). I like his old stuff. The spy who came in from the cold and all that. The thing that struck me, though, when I listened to the honourable schoolboy, is the amount of double-crossing triple-crossing etc that went on among "friends". I wonder if that is/was authentic...

KatharineClifton Mon 10-Dec-12 18:00:50

Thanks for the Charles Cumming recommend. Have you tried Jeremy Duns? I love his Paul Dark chronicles.

riskit4abiskit Mon 10-Dec-12 19:10:07

The original series of tinker tailor is amazing, far superior to the new film imo.

Spy who came in from the cold is a good read.

Not read any of the more recent stuff.

icapturethecastle Mon 10-Dec-12 19:36:26

The honourable schoolboy and smileys people also have Smiley in. I also like The spy who came in from the cold. Not read any of his more modern books

Betzi Mon 10-Dec-12 20:07:15

Thanks for all the recommendations! thanks

OP’s posts: |
TheLightPassenger Mon 10-Dec-12 20:12:10

No, don't worry about reading a Murder of Quality before Call for the Dead. The only order that matters is the Karla trilogy order - that it's best to read Tinker tailor, then the Honourable Schoolboy, then Smiley's people. I agree with Cote, by and large the most recent ones aren't all that good tbh.

sashh Wed 12-Dec-12 07:15:13

I didn't like the film, but the BBC 1980s version is better.

Sorry I know you are looking for books, I've not read any for years, must start again.

JassyRadlett Thu 13-Dec-12 11:32:32

My favourite of the non-Smiley books is The Russia House.

I guess one person's 'dated' is another person's 'historical authenticity', which is why I prefer le Carré to some of the other suggestions here. Absolutely love them.

HerRancidSow Thu 13-Dec-12 11:53:39

Echoing the previous recommendations, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People are definitely worth reading, although you should note that The Honourable Schoolboy is very different in tone and setting from the other two in the trilogy, and Smiley is not the focus of the story.

I would also recommend two other favourites by Le Carre: The Night Manager is a great read and features a familiar Le Carre-type "decent chap" protagonist.

And you should definitely read A Perfect Spy, Le Carre's novel based in part on his unconventional father. The BBC made this into a good TV drama back in the eighties.

Lavenderhoney Thu 20-Dec-12 16:57:53

I didn't like the constant gardener at all, but I like his others. A murder of quality I'd well written but I didn't like it ( don't want to give it away)
I liked single and singke though, and I have our kind of traitor waiting in the wings to be read.

The smiley ones are my favourite though.

Jux Fri 28-Dec-12 19:46:44

The Constant Gardner is one of my favourite books of all time. Got me back into le Carre, as I'd got a bit bored and 'dumped' him about 25 years ago. DH turned up with this one a few years ago from a charity shop and I am hunting out my old Smileys again smile

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