Sunday, March 26, 2017
The Book I Read...Call For The Dead by John LeCarre
After reading several books concerning CIA spies and with all the talk of Russian spies in the news, I thought no time like the present to throw myself into the George Smiley series by John LeCarre. Do you have movies in your life that you simply must watch if you happen upon them, no matter how may times you've seen it, or if it;s in the middle or almost over? One of those movies for me is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Everybody who is anybody in British acting is in this film, and Gary Oldham plays the part of George Smiley. I thought this was my first introduction to Smiley, but I was wrong. He also pops up in The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. I went downtown to the used bookstore hoping to find as many books in the Smiley series as I could. I found three, and fortunately one of them was Call For The Dead, the first in the series.
This was a really quick read, and quite enjoyable. Smiley is a man who definitely lives in his head. In this book he is nearer the end of his career than the start, and almost wonders why he is in it in the first place. His wife has left him and he dreams of slipping away into a quiet life of reading and literature. George Smiley is a spy, although LeCarre doesn't come right out and say spy. In this book his past comes back to haunt him and he must rely on his spy craft to right the wrongs.
I cannot go into great details, because there will be no spoilers for the grey here, but this is a great mystery/espionage novel and I look forward to reading more. I also enjoy LeCarre's use of language. I hate to use the term flowery to describe it, but it's not far off. I was trying to find a short example to share when writing this, and I came across a passage where he refers to potato chips as "chipped potatoes". That may seem trivial, but it is just different enough that you notice it.
Next up on my list is Universal Harvester by John Darnielle from the band The Mountain Goats.