Books: Smiley's People by John Le Carré

I finally, finally finished this book. It took me ages because I kept putting it down and going to find something else to read instead. And it's not that Smiley's People is a bad book, just that I wasn't in the right frame of mind for it.

Truly, Smiley's People might be the better follow-up filmwise to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I mean, at least George Smiley is in most of it, and the ending is very satisfying. I found parts of it a bit of a slog, but that's true of almost every Le Carré book I've read. But because I like George, and in this book he is central rather than peripheral as in so many others, once I did find myself in the right mental space to read Smiley's People, I sailed through it. It was, in the end, enjoyable.

I won't go into too much detail, but the setup involves the deaths of some older agents, ones George had once worked with (his titular "people"), which tips George off to something bigger going on. Of course, George is retired and no one has time for him and his old hangups (read: Karla), so . . . Mostly alone in his task, at least until the final gathering of chessmen on the board as they seek to capture the opposing king, George puts his old-school skills to good use. And reaps the rewards of his long patience, his careful accumulation of information.

And so it's a good book. I enjoyed it more than many of the others in the series, maybe because it had more of George, or perhaps because in this one the ending is rather satisfying, which isn't always true of the other books. I think there are more that follow this one (not sure, haven't gone looking), but one could stop here and be happy.

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