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The Honourable Schoolboy Paperback – June 7, 2011

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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

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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: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 63 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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42 of 45 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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21 of 21 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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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By China Rider on September 20, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Le Carre's cold war trilogy is a long and occasionaly sad traipse through the lives of men, and some women, who've learned the awful consequences of achieving one's goals through the compromise of one's own principles. It's also an epic read and marvelously well written.

Trilogy's can be difficult. Ask anyone who's read the Tolkein tomes. Visit the home of those who own them. "The Two Towers" is the book most forget and, alas, it enlcoses some of the most important story developments. This is happy break from that fate.

The Honourable School Boy is a wonderful and pleasing surprise as it perhaps the book touched most by the challenges and grace of human fraility and devotion. Of the three books that make up the Smiley trilogy, ( "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy", "The Honourable Schoolboy", and "Smiley's People" ), this is by far my favorite. Best of all, if you've never at all read any of Le Carre's novels, this is enjoyable on it's own merits. Enjoy.
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