Joe's Reviews > Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
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's review
Jun 12, 12

bookshelves: 2012
Read in May, 2012

Often times when a novel reveals the meaning behind its title, it lands with a thud; no matter how ingenious, it seems contrived and easy. But when le Carre decodes message in this novel's title, you can't help but give silent fist pump of delight. That's because Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy has both the badass plot of a brilliant thriller and the badass language of great literature, and so manages to make even the minutest twists of its story mesmerizing(ly cool). By holding back and almost all of the spy action, instead letting us hear developments as intelligence processed by various characters, the tension remains held at a remarkably high note throughout the novel. That means, for once, when the identity of the villain is uncovered, you actually care who it is, and they do not seem to have been plucked at random from the whole selection. That realization is the difference between a good whodunnit and a mechanical one. And who better to guide us through this tense scenery than the plump, obscure underdog, George Smiley?

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