With the release of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy I’ve recently gotten back into reading John le Carre’s books. I had already loved and greatly enjoyed Tinker Tailor and its two sequels The Honorable Schoolboy and Smiley’s People. To be honest I definitely did feel the movie did the book justice it was just to intricate to be summed up in 2 hours, but hats off to them for trying.Since the movie I’ve read two more of his books.
The first A Perfect Spy. This book delves into why Magnus Pym went into the intelligence business and also why he disappeared from that world. Unlike most spy stories this isn’t a true thriller, it is much more a psychological exploration of the character of Pym and is told through a few different voices and we get to see how Pym views himself, how his wife saw him and even through his boss Jack Brotherhood’s perspective. All of this interpretations are slightly and subtly different. With this novel you are left with no doubts as to why le Carre is trumpeted as bringing spy novels into the ranks of literature instead of just fiction.
The book also apparently carries a semi-autobiographical themes as le Carre had a similar upbringing and was brought into the service in similar way.
The other book by him I just read was The Tailor of Panama. These two books were about as different as could be. The Tailor of Panama was about an ex-con turned tailor getting black mailed to spy on his clients. The tone is much lighter and felt comedic. The book was a ton of fun and is certainly perfect for a day at the beach or for a flight.
The Tailor of Panama
by John le Carre