Stephen Karlson (shkarlson) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Stephen Karlson

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Book Review No. 1 for this year will mention John le Carré's The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.  I picked up the fiftieth anniversary edition on an impulse, perhaps influenced by the cult of George Smiley that has taken over public television as a counterpart to the excessively flashy James Bond.  Author le  Carré did work in British Intelligence for a while, as a bureaucrat, rather than an intelligence officer, and his preface to the anniversary edition complains about how his works influenced public perceptions of intelligence services.  (Life imitating art: how many mafiosi watched the Godfather series to learn how a made man, in the sense they use the term, should behave?)

That noted: how is Smiley's world different from James Bond's, beyond the upscale casinos and hot babes?  The sense I get is, everyone in charge is too clever by half, and nobody should trust anybody, and people in difficult circumstances, which is reality for everyone in rebuilding Britain and divided Berlin, will do all sorts of odd things.  Perhaps I'm being naive thinking of the work as unremittingly depressing, or perhaps it's with the hindsight that Berlin is no longer divided.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)
Tags: adventure, british, fiction, human spirit, thriller

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