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The Honourable Schoolboy Paperback – June 7, 2011
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“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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
To make a long story short with a not useful review, le Carre's "The Honorable Schoolboy" is impenetrable drivel, cobbled together in bits and pieces and parachute... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Charles M. Anderson
Picked up "Tinker Tailor" again many long years after I first read it, and enjoyed it thoroughly! What a disappointment this one turned out to be. Meandering and dull. Read morePublished 23 days ago by mt
I fell in love with this old owl in Tinker Taylor. Loved him more when he nabbed Karla. But somehow missed this work lying between. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Barry A. Nobles
Well written, but with the usual anti American nonsense. This should have been made part of the series with Sir John Gielgud.Published 2 months ago by Wade Cook
John Le Carres George Smiley Trilogy is one of the best spy stories, in my humble opinion.Published 2 months ago by Knut H. Voggel
I was a bit surprised by the final end , when Jerry Westerby got killed by one of the Circus folks , a nonsense guy, the Indian guy . Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dr. Joop Koster
One of the most underrated Smiley books. Honorable Schoolboy captures the 1970's and the period of transition from Hong King as a British Colony to a Chinese powerhouse. Read morePublished 3 months ago by baxsterny