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Honourable Schoolboy (Coronet Books) [Paperback]

John Le Carre
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read! May 14 2014
By Moss
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 Instead of being outdated, what Hong Kong has become has added a layer of meaning to the concerns of the spymaster, George Smiley.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
5.0 out of 5 stars The honourable schoolboy 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Honourable Schoolboy May 24 2002
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The Honourable Schoolboy Feb. 15 2002
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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5.0 out of 5 stars A spy novel you will come back to... Jan. 25 2002
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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4.0 out of 5 stars A James Bond for the MENSA set Oct. 30 2001
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Honourable Spy Oct. 28 2001
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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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars MIXED UP MESS
I HAD READ THIS ALOST EXACTLY 20 YEARS AGO AND RATED IT WELL, TODAY I CAN'T SEE WHAT I SAW OR WHAT ALL THE 5 STARS ARE ABOUT, THE END IS A CONFUSED MESS. Read more
Published on Sept. 14 2001 by DAVID N BLODGETT
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Spent Spies Against Asian Backdrop
The Honourable Schoolboy is the fifth Le Carre novel featuring the enigmatic George Smiley. After unmasking the mole in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Smiley is put in charge of the... Read more
Published on March 13 2001 by Bill Mac
4.0 out of 5 stars Schoolboy, Smiley, Drake & Nelson Ko - What Characters!
The story begins in mid 1974 with the pullout of intelligence operatives from Hong Kong, for fear of the how much was compromised, following the uncovering of Bill Haydon as a... Read more
Published on Dec 19 2000 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Le Carre's best, I have read it 3 times
Of all of Le Carre's books, this is by far my favorite. Like his others it dishes up his fascinating circus of characters and conversation. Read more
Published on Nov. 2 2000 by Earl Kulp
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential Le Carre: A classic of the genre
A book based on dichotomies, Westerby and Smiley. A must for any fan of the genre
Published on Sept. 2 2000 by M164239
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Le Carre
John Le Carre's mistakes (e.g., "Naive and Sentimental Lover") are more interesting than most other writers' crowning achievements, but "Schoolboy" is as good... Read more
Published on May 8 2000 by C H Hall
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