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Old 03-08-2009, 09:58   #1
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Getting into John Le Carré's books

When Jane Eyre's over with I'd like to finally read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy but a quick look over Wikipedia about Le Carré's work (while doing my best not to read any spoilers) implies there may be a sort of chronology running through all his books.

I'm quite a 'completist' sort of person but equally it's his seventh book and I don't get loads of reading time, so will I gain much by reading his stuff in order or should I just go straight for that and read others later?
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Old 03-08-2009, 10:29   #2
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There is a chronology of sorts running through his earlier books in that Smiley is a realtively minor character in many of them.

You could easily read Tinker Taylor, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People whilst ignoring all the earlier novels as they form a mini-cycle of works that can be read as a standalone group without reference to the earlier works.
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Old 05-08-2009, 23:11   #3
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Personally, I'd start with Call For The Dead and The Spy Who Came In From The Cold in order to give you background on Smiley's early career and Control then go onto the Karla trilogy. Both are relatively short and easy to read. Later on, come back to the other early ones. "The Looking Glass War" is particularly good.
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:03   #4
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Okay thanks guys.

I'll have a look today, though it's going to take me a bit longer to be done with Jane Eyre.
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:13   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
Personally, I'd start with Call For The Dead and The Spy Who Came In From The Cold in order to give you background on Smiley's early career and Control then go onto the Karla trilogy. Both are relatively short and easy to read. Later on, come back to the other early ones. "The Looking Glass War" is particularly good.
A Murder of Quality is the one I would read first, then Call for the Dead then TSWCIFTC.

Then the fun really starts with the Karla trilogy.

BTW Radio 4 are doing The complete Smiley over the course of the year. Very good so far.
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Old 07-08-2009, 00:10   #6
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As others have said you could miss out all of the earlier books without it really having much impact on your enjoyment of the trilogy that starts with Tinker, but you would be missing out on some cracking reads. Of the earlier books the only ones which don't feature Smiley are 'The Naïve and Sentimental Lover' and 'A small town in Germany'. THe former is an interesting read in its own right but isn't a spy thriler.
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Old 09-02-2012, 19:31   #7
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Originally Posted by sideshowhibs View Post
A Murder of Quality is the one I would read first, then Call for the Dead then TSWCIFTC.

Then the fun really starts with the Karla trilogy.

BTW Radio 4 are doing The complete Smiley over the course of the year. Very good so far.
Holy resurrection...

Well after watching the film last year and with a longer commute and access to Kindle I started reading them.

I actually started in the order above because for some odd reason Penguin hadn't released Call for the Dead on Kindle but did have A Murder of Quality. Have now read the first four (all them great reads) and started the fifth.

A Murder of Quality has an excellent recent afterword to it as well, although none of the others seem to have been revisited by him with new Afterwords, which is a shame.
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Old 09-02-2012, 19:55   #8
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The radio plays were really good and were brilliant for listening to as I took the dog on big walks. Simon Russell Beale was really good as Smiley.
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