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Preview — Call for the Dead by John le Carré
Call for the Dead (George Smiley, #1)
In many ways, Call for the Dead is a book of its time. It opens with a chapter setting out ‘A Brief History of George Smiley’, something a modern novelist might find difficult to get away with. But the ‘backstory’ of S ...more
"When Lady Ann Sercomb married George Smiley towards the end of the war she described hi ...more
This book—which I believe was his first—reminded me a great deal of Graham Greene's work: It was short, fast-paced, and highly entertaining. But even in so short a book his talent for weaving intricately tangled webs of espionage asserts itself. He strings the reader along throughout the narrative dropping little clues here and there, slowly revealing t ...more
The mystery itself is straight-forward: I fig ...more
One of the things that makes George Smiley stand out among the others of his ilk is his looks, oddly enough. He is a quiet, ordina ...more
Smiley is asked to interview a man in the Foreign Office, Samuel Fennan, in a routine security check. Fennan has been under suspicion of Communist sympathies but Smiley talks to him as they walk i ...more
I'm glad I did. CALL FOR THE DEAD is a pretty straight-foward murder mystery with spy trappings, but it serves as a fine introduction to Smiley and what makes him tick. Smiley, who is clearly ...more
Nice introduction of George Smiley. Nothing too difficult to read. Slow and steady wins the race with this lot. I definitely had Gary Oldman pictured (remember Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy??). Of course, the description of George and chubby and plain, kind of threw me off. Of course, it had no bearing on his though process and figuring out of this mystery.
Did Fennan kill himself, or was he "liquidated?" If murdered, then why? What role does the past play in current events? Is ...more
was really crazy about spy novels. I'm rereading LeCarre's old ones
though. He's good. This one introduces the character of George Smiley
who figures in the best of his spy fiction a decade later (Books like
Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy, The Honorable Schoolboy and Smiley's
Smiley, an secret intelligence officer , interviews a Foreign Office
official about whom his bosses have received an anonymous letter
saying he's a Communi ...more
Smiley interviews an agent who had been anonymously denounced, and Smiley gets a good feeling about ...more
Indeed the density and complexity of the characters he portrayts, is very close to reality. This is not for everyone.
In the case of the main character of this first book, George Smiley, who I already knew from other works, such complexity and ambiguity are all too evident.
Still "Call for th ...more
As alway ...more
A couple years ago when I had The Spy Who Came in from the Cold on my reading list I found an inelegantly bound collection of John le Carré novels at a used friends of the library bookstore. The edition contained le Carré's first five novels. I enjoyed The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and forgot about the rest of the novels in the edition until a couple days ago when I was looking for something of a palette cleaners after reading Freedom. Unable for some reason to proceed straight to the new DF...more
I haven't ye ...more
CALL FOR THE DEAD introduces George Smiley, quite literally. The first chapter is a brief biography of the character leading up to the novel's events.
Le Carre's exceptional prose elevates what is otherwise a pretty simple murder mystery with espionage elements. Smiley investigates the suspicious death of a possible double agent, and uncovers a spy ring operating in London. Classic spycraft hijinks ensue.
Interestingly enough le Carre's cold ...more
Το 1984 κυκλοφόρησε από τις εκδόσεις Bell ένας τόμος με τον τίτλο "Ντετέκτιβ Σμάιλυ", που περιέχει τα δυο πρώτα μικρά μυθιστορήματα του Τζον Λε Καρέ, το "Τηλεφώνημα για το νεκρό" και το "Έγκλημα ποιότητας", τα οποία πλέον κυκλοφορούν σε ξεχωριστά βιβλία από τις εκδόσεις Καστανιώτη, με άλλους τίτλους και διαφορετικές μεταφράσεις.
Έξι χρόνια μετά το κλασικό και πολύ καλό "Ο κατάσκοπος γύρισε από το κρύο", είπα επιτέλους να διαβάσω ένα βιβλίο του Τζον Λε Καρέ, από τα πάρα πολλ ...more
Le Carre writes a short, intense, gripping, complex, human, and moving story of the death of a possible traitor within the Foreign Office, its investigation by George Smiley, and the consequences and outcome.
At 156 pages, this book shows the skill of the author's craft, as there is as much content as in most current, badly-edited 400 page blockbusters. Character, motive, background are all provided with brilliant economy.
Comparisons would be with ...more
This was my first LeCarre book. I found out he used to work for British Intelligence (aka a spy) so the whole 'write what you know' works here. Smiley and his friend/cohort Mendel made a good team. LeCarre developed the characters well but probably could have done a little more there. The book started out a little stiff and dry and I almost abandoned it but got better after a few chapters.
It felt like ha ...more
But perhaps not.
George Smiley has become an iconic character, at least in my little corner of the world, even without my ever having encoun ...more