Smiley's People (George Smiley Series)

Smiley's People (George Smiley Series)

by John le Carré

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Smiley's People 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Le Carré is a genius of the first order, which is why I can still recommend this novel highly. And yet, compared to the first two books of the Quest for Karla trilogy, it fails, by the end, to capture the same genius. I would like to split the difference, and make it three and a half stars, but the rating system won't let me. The Quest for Karla Trilogy (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy, and Smiley's People) absolutely must be read in order, and at the beginning of Smiley's People, you start to wonder if you have indeed picked up the right book. While The Honourable Schoolboy made references to Tinker Tailor from the first page, Smiley's People makes a completely break. The story of the Russian expatriates in Paris and their constant fears is what makes this novel brilliant. The end, however, which has finally brought the reader back into the game between Smiley and Karla, is less than satisfying. Old favourite characters, like Peter Guillam, are reintroduced, but changed. Years have passed, yes, and yet George Smiley is the same. Old Connie is still recognisable, but not in a good way. Her swan song is pathetic, ignoble, and less than she is worth, yet terribly accurate. It is painful to read because as horrid as it is, most of the signs were there in The Honourable Schoolboy. The problem is that it feels as if Le Carré dug the old peripheral characters out of a shoebox under his bed, dusted them off, and tried to start writing them again when he was no longer the same person who created them in the first place. It is most noticeable with what happened to Peter Guillam. Only George Smiley, of the characters we already knew, feels like the natural and proper continuation of the self we saw in the first two novels. Smiley's People is absolutely worth reading, if only to see how Le Carré concludes this period of his writing life, but don't expect the same brilliance of Tinker Tailor. The narrative is excellent, and so are the new characters. It is the continuation that feels strained, as if Le Carré himself was unsure of his decisions for resolution, in more ways than one. Others may be pleased with the conclusion; I hoped for something more like the bitter ending of The Honourable Schoolboy. The first half of the book is worth five stars; the last half, three.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The final book of the karla series and a continuation of the George Smiley's saga. This is an excellent book with Le Carre at the top of his game. The book continues the duel with Karla and draws together the threads from the previous books. It is a wonderful read and beutifully written.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Geroge Smiley is called back from retirement to look into the murder of a Russion emigre who had worked in the field for Smiley years ago. His investigation leads Smiley, and eventually the Circus, down paths that have been left untrodden for years. All of Smiley's best operatives from the past are drawn into this investigation. An investigation that closes a most significant chapter in George Smiley's life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the great spy novels of the cold war along with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Anonymous 14 days ago
LeCarre at his best. George Smiley in his final facedown with Karla.
name99 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another good Le Carre. A story that's gripping, interesting background material,non-predictability. Recommended.
wildbill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
his is the final volume in John Le Carre's Karla trilogy and the seventh of the George Smiley books. I have read each of the volumes several times and I still enjoy them. Karla is a Russian spy master who in the earlier volumes almost put the Circus out of business using Bill Haydon as a double agent at the top levels of the British spy agency. Karla utilized the relationship between Haydon and Smiley's compulsively adulterous wife Ann to conceal Haydon's treachery from George. Now Karla is undone by his love for a girl who is discovered by the General, Vladimir. The story begins with the murder of Vladimir by a hollow point bullet that leaves his face unrecognizable. All in a time called the Cold War that we thought would never end.Before he was murdered Vladimir telephoned the Circus to speak to Max. That is his vicar, George Smiley. The General had two proofs and insisted on Moscow rules. It was about the Sandman. After Vladimir was murdered the new boys at the Circus brought George out of retirement to clean things up. George found a cigarette pack hidden up in a tree and began Karla's downfall.The plot has a full cast of characters each with a small piece of the story. Maria Ostrokova is a Russian emigre in Paris who writes the General out of fear for a daughter she has never seen. The General and Otto Leipzig are Baltic emigres with a shared hatred for the Soviet system. Smiley finds Otto murdered and recovers his piece of the puzzle from Claus Kretzchmer, a German porn entrepreneur. Mikhel, proud of his days in the Estonian cavalry, is a comrade of the General. Villem, or William, Craven does a critical errand for the General based on their family ties from Estonia. Counsellor Grigeriov is an incompetent agent whose fears his wife above all else in the world. George brings Toby Esterhase and Connie or Mother Russia out of forced retirement to assist him. Alexandra Borisovna, a Russian girl forced to live in a religious asylum, is the key to Smiley's revenge.There is a last visit with Ann while Smiley patiently puts together the pieces of the story. He once again shows his spy craft while interrogating Grigoriev while reading from a blank sheet of paper. The interrogation is a masterful scene, crackling with tension, presided over by the calm and patient George. That's all I can tell or I will give away the ending.I have read this book several times and still enjoy my visits with George Smiley. The contrast between George Smiley's poignant humanity and the cold realities of the spy world are a unique combination created by a skilled writer. I heartily recommend reading this book.
johnclaydon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Far better than the first, better than the second.
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This used to be my least favorite of the George Smiley books. Honestly I think when I was younger I just couldn't figure out the intricacies of the alliances between all these refugees who seemed so old and odd to me. Now they feel just right - with romantic pasts and possibly romantic presents and still committed to their cause, no matter how quixotic the quest.This book is much more like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in tone. It details various interconnected yet solitary quests and hones in on George Smiley's pursuit of Karla, his white whale. The first novel in the trilogy is laced with betrayal, the second with the end of Empire (both American and English), and this one is all about personal endings and the tragedies that come from choices made or neglected. It's a melancholy book, even in its ending, artfully acknowledging that the journey is almost always more satisfying than the destination.
ggarfield on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As if walking at Smiley¿s side through Tinker Tailor and then the Honorable Schoolboy; to do so again in this last book in the trilogy becomes a riveting experience. From its start in Paris to its final bone chilling scene, this book is a must read. Still as vibrant today as when the Cold War raged.
magentaflake on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is the thrilling third novel of the George Smiley trilogy in which he finally captures his arch nemesis, the Russian spy master, Karla. Of the three books, I prefer this one. I thoroughly enjoyed these books/ I didn't read them when they were first published I probably wouldn't have understood them. But now, with advancing years I can appreciate them more.
mramos on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this John le Carre novel we have the final confrontation between George Smiley and Karla, his long time nemesis. This is my first book by the author and I did not feel like I was starting in the middle. So you do not need to read the two that precede it. This is not just a spy novel, but also a well-written book. And the author is able to allow us to have a strong sense of picturing the characters. They are well thought out and three-dimensional. Our hero George Smiley is brought out of retirement by some antics and death of an old retired contact. And we follow Mr. Smiley as he works to solve the case or close it any way he can. Of course George Smiley does his utmost to solve it. And it is this journey he takes that leads us to his old time foe from the Soviet Union, Karla. Smiley does not seem like a spy, but his methods, instincts and powers of observations are exceptional. But what any person attuned to his surroundings would have. It is nice to have a normal human hero. One who shoes us his range of emotions and thought process. And the realistic ending. Yes it may seem anticlimactic. But I prefer the realism of it all.
picardyrose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My favorite story, but not as well written as "Tinker Tailor."
glauver More than 1 year ago
The conclusion to the Karla trilogy is better than The Honourable Schoolboy but not quite the equal of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. John le Carre' apparently felt that, after all of George Smiley's tribulations in the previous novels, the aging spy should have a final change to even the score with his Russian nemesis. Unlike Schoolboy, the plot moves briskly as Smiley, shelved once again, is called on to tidy up after a Russian general who defected to the West is murdered. He finds that the killing has all the signs of a Soviet style liquidation and that the general had information about the Sandman, one of Karla's nicknames. He ignores the orders of Whitehall and sets out on a quest to bring his longtime tormentor down. Although the writing is classic le Carre', the writer seems to have fallen in love with his character. Smiley unravels clues even the great Holmes would have missed and easily outmaneuvers the bureaucrats who so often hamstrung him in other novels. Although the ending was satisfying, one wonders if it could happen outside of fiction.
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Another great Le Carre work!!!
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