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Honourable Schoolboy (Coronet Books) Paperback – Jan 1 1989


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Coronet (1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340494905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340494905
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.9 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,249,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Moss on May 14 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The novel has gained poignancy since China regained sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997. Instead of being outdated, what Hong Kong has become has added a layer of meaning to the concerns of the spymaster, George Smiley.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ursula Hovey on June 8 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
JOHN LeCARRE is not just a spy-story narrator, he is a GREAT writer! His prose is tight, imaginative and beautiful. His imagery is majestic. And his grasp of human nature is truly impressive. He is truly the master. Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio Cassette
As an addict of Le Carre, the Honourable Schoolboy is my favourite of his stories.
The intricate plotting of the chase, the utterly realistic and flawed geniuses that make up Smiley's team after the fall of the Circus in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy make this a compelling read.
The twist at the end was as unexpected as it was believable, and Jerry Westerby is one of the great characters of modern fiction.
I give a strong recommendation that if you are new to Le Carre that you read Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy first (or buy the Smiley trilogy). British spooks, but clever and compelling.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Honourable Schoolboy is superb. Forget the "spy" genre it's categorized against. Ignore the (for me anyway) vapid liner notes about the "thrills and terror" of spys and their evil. Instead, bask in this marvelous writer's rich exploitation of the language and his delicious palette as he describes people in extraordinary circumstances attempting to deal with what we all face: our own weaknesses and emotions. Everytime I read this work, I'm struck by LeCarre's ability to depict the human condition so faithfully. Buy it. Read it. Then read it again and again. Enjoy!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've just finished reading SCHOOLBOY for perhaps the fifth time & find myself enjoying it just as much as I did to begin with. Part of the pleasure of a good LeCarre is the remarkable depth of his characters -the feeling that one is dealing with real people with all their faults and strengths. Beyond this however is the feeling of authenticity that leCarre brings to his landscapes and to his times. Here we can feel that we are actually in London, and Hong Kong, and Cambodia during that strange Spring of 1975 when thirty years of war were finally drawing to their chaotic close. In Smiley LeCarre has created a truly remarkable figure -at once remote in his brilliance and yet at the same time so human in his flaws and failures. here is a man who will read Goethe in the original to his cheating wife, smoke out a Russian spy in China, salvage a failing Secret Service, and yet try & fail to keep to his diet. Jerry Westerby, The Honourable Schoolboy of the title is in many ways the Everyman of the piece, we side with him, root for him, fear for him, and at the end, well I won't give it away! This is a Thinking Person's spy novel that will do just fine as "aeroplane reading" or as a serious glance back at those awful 1970's...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is volume two of what has become known as the "Karla Trilogy" (Tinker, Tailor being number one and Smiley's People number three). It is perhaps the weakest of the three, but the other two are so stunning that this assessment is hardly damning: this is still a wonderful book. I note that the plot is neatly summarized by a number of the other reviewers, so I'll skip it. I will also concur with them in noting that this is NOT the sort of book you read for James Bond thrills. This book more than any other of the spy genre shows the strategic skills necessary in espionage. What makes it so intriguing is that it's not just the obvious outsmart-the-opponent stuff, but the real down-and-dirty office politics kind of thing as well. Outsmart-the-ally, you could say. This is also the kind of book that makes you pay attention. Another reviewer noted that the end was "a mess." Yup, it is: in the sense that the plot lines are not all neatly resolved. Gosh, a spy book that's almost like real life. What a concept.
This book is also very much of its period. Do we really remember how DEPRESSING the early 1970's were? Once-treasured institutions were falling about our ears. And poor George Smiley is now at the head of one of them: the thoroughly disgraced British Secret Service. Captain of a sinking ship, as one of the characters says. His efforts to salvage some dignity for the organization are fascinating to observe: a display of sheer brain power.
It's typical LeCarre: extraordinarily developed characters, dense plot, intellectual rigor, vivid settings - and no one writing today strings words together so deliciously.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Honourable Schoolboy" is my first John Le Carre novel. It immediately brought to mind Graham Greene's, "The Quiet American" and the British miniseries, 'The Sandbaggers', by Yorkshire Television or Channel 4, starring a subdued and laconic Roy Marsden. No James Bond in sight!
Like another English novelist who I recall, John Fowles; Le Carre must certainly be forgiven for his occasional minor literary flaws for the fact that his overall observational skills and plot development are exceptional. I'm not a spy novel enthusiast, per se, but the lives of George Smiley, his Circus and Whitehall associates, the ambivalent Jerry Westerby, Liesa, Drake & Nelson Ko, Luke, ... are depicted in a way that makes the reader care about their fate. The climax in Hong Kong is exceptional.
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