Books that Matter: Smiley’s People by John Le Carre

So, why not one of the other three Le Carre books that I’ve read?

Because this one…this one really got my gut. Le Carre’s books all manage to grab me, particularly because of how human his characters are. No one is entirely perfect, entirely good or entirely bad.

I really liked Smiley’s People because it was very much George Smiley alone. We really got to see how he operates and functions as an operative, and how he acts as part of his own mission, rather than one ordered by the Circus. Of course, characters like Toby Esterhase and Peter Guillam show up to help out in their own ways, but this book truly belongs to Smiley.

Another reason why I enjoyed this book so much is because of how we could see some of Karla’s motivation. He becomes more of a character in this book, rather than the threatening, murky photograph he is in the previous two books of the trilogy.

Moral conundrums and espionage, two of my favorite topics to read about. Le Carre is the man for that.

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