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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Stuff!
Le Carre is the best spy novelist ever and truly a modern master of literature. Tinker Tailor takes the reader on a journey through the murky labyrinths of british intelligence as the antihero Smiley, a plump, confused, betrayed, but deceptively steely and intelligent spy, ferrets out a mole burrowed into the highest levels of British Intelligence by his Soviet nemesis,...
Published on July 9 2001

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Spy Tale, But Not Brilliant
All in all I think Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a really great and compelling book. The writing is flawless and witty, and the characters are all extremely interesting. My only problem with the book is it excruciatingly slow pace, especially a quarter through where things got so slow I almost stopped reading all together. But things quickly pick-up near the end and...
Published on Oct. 4 2011 by nechoplex


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Stuff!, July 9 2001
By A Customer
Le Carre is the best spy novelist ever and truly a modern master of literature. Tinker Tailor takes the reader on a journey through the murky labyrinths of british intelligence as the antihero Smiley, a plump, confused, betrayed, but deceptively steely and intelligent spy, ferrets out a mole burrowed into the highest levels of British Intelligence by his Soviet nemesis, Karla. The themes of betrayal, downfall, and the inescapable immorality of spying permeate this finely written book, while the challenge of discovering, with Smiley, who the mole is, captures the reader from the start. Le Carre's character developement is superior to almost any writer, living or dead, and the complexity of the mole, Smiley, Connie Sachs, and a host of other characters adds another superior facet. Finally, Le Carre's use of wonderfully quaint terminology, with "moles", "legmen", "burrowers", "the circus", and others making frequent appearances, spices up the book. The best spy book I have ever read, and I have read every book by Forsyth, Higgings, Clancy, and Craig, and almost every Ludlum. This may be a great spy book, but it is also an outstanding work of literature, like its two successors, and is a classic in every respect. Everyone should read it who has a mind and appreciation for a nobly done turn of phrase. However, this book isn't for the James Bond Boom Boom kiss the girl and fly off sort- requires thought!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Spy Tale, But Not Brilliant, Oct. 4 2011
All in all I think Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a really great and compelling book. The writing is flawless and witty, and the characters are all extremely interesting. My only problem with the book is it excruciatingly slow pace, especially a quarter through where things got so slow I almost stopped reading all together. But things quickly pick-up near the end and while I saw the ending coming, it still made for a suspenseful story. And the book managed to get me even more excited for the upcoming film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful characters, thick plot, April 13 2002
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One of Le Carre's masterpieces, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is much more than a popcorn espionage novel. The characters are vibrant, and the setting is very good. I enjoyed the seemingly bumbling George Smiley, a British ex-spy who's actually sharp as a needle. When the Service thinks it's been pentrated by a Soviet mole, they called in George, whom they fired years ago for a fiasco in Czeckoslovakia. (Smiley's boss had embarked on a small private war there, without authorization or reason, and had caused quite a disruption.) Smiley digs through mounds of files and old briefings by night, searching for the clues that will lead him to the mole. The plot is very well done. My favorite part of Tinker Tailor, however, is the brilliant characterization. I can almost smell the people on the pages. Connie, an eccentric old lady reminscing about her days in British Intelligence (the Circus), an emotional and unfortuate woman who never quite grew up; Peter Guillam, the impatient, embattled and embittered spy who drags Smiley back in to the Circus; Jim Prideaux, the strong-as-an-ox victim of Czeckoslovakia, shot and wounded in the back, the master of the game who hides as a teacher at a boys prep school and charms the students earning himself the honor of a nickname (Rhino); Roach, a fat, athsmatic boy at the prep school who is enchanted with Rhino, loves him and misses him dearly when school lets out, worries about him, and later sees him bury a handgun in the garden, eventually convincing himself that the gun was only a dream. There are scores of others, just as real. The thick plot and wonderful characters of John Le Carre's first Smiley novel make it a delight to read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars May be confusing for readers not familiar with the jargon..., Jan. 1 2013
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Ce commentaire est de: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Paperback)
For anyone who has never read a John Le Carre novel, be warned - his writing style is quite unique, and his characters can be extremely unlikeable and unlikely. Le Carre also uses a lot of so-called "jargon" in his spy novels - terms used in the British Secret Service to describe various roles, like lamplighters, burrowers, scalphunters, etc. Unfortunately, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" does not come with a dictionary to help translate the jargon, so the book may be quite confusing to unwary readers.

Even IF you can get through the jargon, the book is quie slow-paced at the beginning. A lot of characters are introduced, but not all are well-developed - this can make it even harder to keep track of the various twisted plots interlaced throughout the book.

The sequel to TTTS ("The Honourable Schoolboy") is a much better book in my opinion.
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3.0 out of 5 stars for those like spy novels, Dec 28 2012
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Very well written but I admit I found it hard slugging to get through. I will hang on to it though. Perhaps as time goes on I'll try it again
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tinkering with Perfection, April 2 2003
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This is the perfect novel. When was the first time you suspected that most middle-aged men in senior government positions had secret agendas? What were the circumstances that led you to believe that civil servants, ministers, and spies can prioritize morality to suit their career objectives? We have all suspected that there are troubling conflicts-of-interest in our western governments and the intelligence communities that serve them. This is the best primer on why spies are what spies do: Namely, they are servants to a sad version of democracy whose ends justify the means. Every page is littered with regrets, lost love, memories that haunt the living, double-crossings, spies, and manipulative statesmen more concerned with acheiving their goals than how western democracy may be tarnished by such actions. LeCarre is more than a just a writer; he is a kataskopic-sociologist ("kataskopic"= meaning spycraft) He mines the darkest hearts of every western democracy reminding us that spycraft in its most evil of forms is not worth parading in front of enslaved people.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Smiley's Finest Hour, Nov. 1 2001
What happens if you've lost your friends, your motivation, your career is hopelessly stalled and you're coming to realize the entire foundation of said career is hopelessly misguided?
As John Le Carre shows us, we'd probably just soldier on, like Tinker, Tailor's immortal anti-hero, George Smiley. Smiley half-suspects that the capture of the M16 "mole" won't really matter in the end; he knows, anyway, that his country is no longer a nation of Empire and that all that awaits him is a drab retirement, but somehow, he finds the strength and the facility to keep batting for England: at the end of the day, he is actually serving his country.
Apart from the remarkable revelation that is George Smiley, Le Carre renders another expose: spying is nothing like we think it is - in fact, it is desparately unglamorous, lonely, plodding work in which even the leading lights will end up drowning in bureacracy. There are many, many scenes where our hero must navigate some dimly lit file room or office library, and the occasional, cringlingly embarassing office social gathering. But have no fear: the mole is found.
I agree with others that this is Le Carre's best work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty darn good., May 25 2001
By A Customer
I tried reading this book shortly after college in 1994 & it didn't capture my attention then. I reread it this year & liked it much better. I did find myself drifting a bit during certain passages...Le Carre is somewhat long-winded at points. The book does contain some funny British humor. The story itself isn't all that exciting but it is a good mystery...we work along with Smiley to determine who the mole is. Smiley is an interesting character...in addition to his spy work we also go through the pain of his wife deserting him for another man. I'll try reading some other Le Carre stuff...this wasn't bad at all.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but not his best, April 10 2001
I write this as a complete Carre enthusiast. His works are the top of literature, and yes, with Greene gone, he is the best in Britain. TTSS is alittle hard to get into, but it certainly grabs you by eyeballs once you meet Prideaux (that would be page...uh, 1?). I started reading it knowing who was the mole (The Secret Pilgrim is a spoiler), but that made it more enjoyable in the how-did-he-do-it sense. But if you want to get to know JLC, don't start here. Start with easier reading, such as The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, A Small Town In Germany, or Our Game, or my all-time favourite The Night Manager. Got it? Good. Spying is Waiting.
/Alec Corday
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greats., April 4 2001
If you've read this masterpiece by LeCarrè then you would know why I think he is the greatest spy novelist ever.
The story is one of treachery in the "Circus"(which LeCarrè dubiously calls his Secret Service). LeCarrè having worked in the Secret Service (both MI5 and the SIS) for 15 years knows all about treachery. Indeed his Father, a ritzy-glitzy con man, betrayed him. Having experinced all this, you get in this novel what most others don't have:authenticity.
George Smiley: "One of London's meek who do not inherit the Earth", "small, podgy and at best middle-aged". Is a seemingly unremarkable character. Not particularly great-looking or glamorous or physically well built or anything else. The worst insult he can hurl upon a man is "you pompous featherhead". Yet beyond this inconspicuos shroud lies "one of the no-men of no-man's land".
He spends his time trying to forget all that he has learnt for they are only painful ones (his wife having cheated on him numerous times, having innocent people killed, meeting traitors who he was intimate with) but his past comes back to him in that a few fellow "old Circus"'s approach him with a request: find the mole that has buried himself deep into the upper echelons of the Circus for 30 years.
It is a trademark of LeCarrè's that he tends never to give us a happy ending in his novels but that is not him being cynical merely trying to communicate to us his messages about Life. Smiley has all of his old friends under suspicion: Roy Bland, Toby Esterhase, Percy Allelline, and Bill Haydon. We find Smiley going over some very, very old ground with some very painful and unhappy memories.
When Smiley catches the mole we are left breathless at his skill and his wonderful ability. Yet we do sympathise with him in that he has to unmask his very own friend, someone he has worked with for decades.
This is certainly not LeCarrè's best (I reserve that praise for "The spy who came in from the Cold") but it is still a masterpiece. Some of LeCarrè's "worst" novels are better than some authors' best and that's a fact. LeCarrè is definetely one of the great writers alive or dead, the great social historian of our times. His spy novels are merely a disguise for his messages about Life. Sometimes I found myself simply re-reading some sentences merely for their beauty, LeCarrè's use of language is eloquent. He is not the sort of commercial, predictable author and he is not particularly easy to read(especially his later novels) but at the end everything turns out so simple and flawless yet you are left wanting more.
This is one of the greatest spy novels ever and LeCarrè is one of the greates novelists ever. Read it and enjoy.
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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carre (Paperback - Aug. 22 2006)
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