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The Honourable Schoolboy: A George Smiley Novel Paperback – June 7, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143119737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143119739
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.3 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Not a page of this book is without intelligence and grace.”—The New York Times
 
“Energy, compassion, rich and overwhelming sweep of character and action…one of the finest English novels of the seventies.”—The Times (UK)
 
“All the good things are there: the Balkan complexities of plot; the Dickensian profusion of idiosyncratic characters; and above all, le Carré’s glistening social observation.”—Time

From the Publisher

15 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

John le Carre was born in 1931. His third novel, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, secured him a worldwide reputation, which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy: Tinke, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honorable Schoolboy, and Smiley's People. His novels include The Little Drummer Girl, A Perfect Spy, The Russia House, Our Game, The Taileor of Panama, and Single & Single. John le Carre lives in Cornwall.

Customer Reviews

The balance between writing his characters out so well yet keeping the plot going at a good pace.
Robert Steele
The novel has Le Carre's usual themes; betrayal, misdirected love and the use of an opponent's human vulnerability against him.
Bill Mac
If you have watched the BBC version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, you can actually visualize Jerry Westerby and Sam Collins.
Kenneth Wang

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By John Anderson on January 25, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've just finished reading SCHOOLBOY for perhaps the fifth time & find myself enjoying it just as much as I did to begin with. Part of the pleasure of a good LeCarre is the remarkable depth of his characters -the feeling that one is dealing with real people with all their faults and strengths. Beyond this however is the feeling of authenticity that leCarre brings to his landscapes and to his times. Here we can feel that we are actually in London, and Hong Kong, and Cambodia during that strange Spring of 1975 when thirty years of war were finally drawing to their chaotic close. In Smiley LeCarre has created a truly remarkable figure -at once remote in his brilliance and yet at the same time so human in his flaws and failures. here is a man who will read Goethe in the original to his cheating wife, smoke out a Russian spy in China, salvage a failing Secret Service, and yet try & fail to keep to his diet. Jerry Westerby, The Honourable Schoolboy of the title is in many ways the Everyman of the piece, we side with him, root for him, fear for him, and at the end, well I won't give it away! This is a Thinking Person's spy novel that will do just fine as "aeroplane reading" or as a serious glance back at those awful 1970's...
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By C H Hall on May 8, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
John Le Carre's mistakes (e.g., "Naive and Sentimental Lover") are more interesting than most other writers' crowning achievements, but "Schoolboy" is as good an intrigue and adventure novel as one will ever find.
Le Carre is the bravest popular novelist around. He panders to no one's politics; he doesn't care how much work a reader might normally choose to invest in a book; and he adheres to no formulae. You either trust him utterly, and let him take you where he's going, or you read Grisham.
"Schoolboy" features a Le Carre regular character, George Smiley, and centers on a bit character from earlier work, Jerry Westerby. In a sense, the novel is a contrast between, on the one hand, the bluff, hearty, athletic, noble, and, well, superficially superficial Westerby; and on the other, the deepest and most complicated character in the genre, George Smiley. But there's so much more here: the contrast between Eastern and Western cultures; between England in its late-twentieth century posture and the then-seeming decline in influence of the U.S.; between the young Turks at the Circus and its old guard.
What unites it all is Le Carre's remarkable gift at storytelling, dialogue, and character development.
I read many authors in the intrigue, mystery, and crime fields. But they're all just faint echoes of Le Carre. If you want real gold, and not just cheap imitation, he's your man.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Kresal on October 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Following the events of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy the British intelligence agency known as the Circus is in disarray. Following the revelation of a traitor within in its highest echelons, its reputation is in tatters, its budget cut and its very existence is in question. The man who uncovered the traitor, George Smiley, is now the chief of a dying agency and its only hope for survival is to go on the offensive. The Honourable Schoolboy is the story of what happens next.

Unlike Tinker which was set entirely in Britain (minus reminisces and flashbacks), le Carre splits the story of this novel across two continents. On one continent is George Smiley running the Circus and the operation that will hopefully redeem it. To do that, le Carre brings back many of the supporting character's he used in Tinker such as Smiley's right hand man Peter Guillam and the eccentric researcher Connie Sachs to name two such people. The main narrative takes place on the other side of the world in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia where former newspaper reporter and occasional Circus agent Jerry" Westerby (introduced as one of the supporting characters in Tinker) is sent to follow up information the Circus has obtained about Hong Kong Fat Cat Drake Ko. As a result, the novel is split up far more then Tinker was something that is both good and bad.

On the good side is its introduction of an all new series of character's and locations. The new character's range from the mysterious Liese, Hong Kong Fat Cat Drake Ko, CIA agents Martello and Murphy and aging Hong Kong journalist Bill Craw. Really though it is the locations that give the novel a much different feel from its predecessor.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on July 31, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like most of the best-selling works that come from the unchallenged master of the intelligent spy thriller John LeCarre, this is a fictional but absorbing treatise on the hidden and conflicted corners of the human heart, the many ways in which our own natures feed into and extend the darker impulse of a society bent on pursuing the secrets and treachery that ever lurks for the unsuspecting victim. Here, in the second of three best-selling novels tracing the pilgrim's progress of George Smiley, the intrepid and unlikely hero of the post-industrial Western world, LeCarre continues his marvelously convoluted narrative tracing the continuing history of the Smiley chronicles, a three volume spy novel treatise detailing the perfidy and treachery of the world of British intelligence.
In "The Honourable Schoolboy", the instrument of Smiley's revenge against the legendary Karla, the Chief of the Soviet espionage effort, is one Jerry Westerby, a man who comprises such an amalgam of honor, evil, and rage that he is perhaps one of the most complex and yet completely believable characters to pop from LeCarre's fertile mind. Westerby is the old hand in the Far East, Smiley's eyes and ears, and the man George has placed to push the first domino spinning toward the eventual collapse of all the others in the vast Soviet spy network. Smiley is spinning the network in the aftermath of the uncovering of a Soviet mole deep within the Circus, the code name within the trade for the center of British Intelligence.
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