Quick Thoughts on The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

The first book I finished in 2012 was John le Carre’s The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. Like so many books I’ve been reading, this one came into my hands thanks to Robert at 101books.

* * * * I gave it 4 out of 5 stars which on Goodreads indicates “Really Liked It”. On the whole emotional reaction side, I’d mark this one as 🙂 / 😦 because it’s pretty fun but does have it’s “Aw that sucks” moments.

This is my first John le Carre novel. And I don’t think it’s going to be my last. I’m not going to go le Carre crazy but I’m curious about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: A George Smiley Novel because George Smiley was a very minor character in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold but just the tiny bit they threw in about him made me interested. And I hear there’s a movie? I won’t watch it but I do like to read the books that get the Hollyood touch.

One thing I have to say is this is a spy novel, not a mystery novel and I feel that’s important to differentiate. I was often confused reading this book, and flipped back looking for this or that here and there trying to figure out just what the heck Leamas was up to or what Control was thinking. But for me, that’s fun. At least when I’m reading a spy novel. I feel like I should be clueless. And I feel like I should have a bad feeling about this or that or the other only to be proven wrong then right then wrong then right again. Sometimes, I did feel like I was very much not “in” on a lot of what was going on but isn’t that the point of the spying experience? At least as far as Leamas, the main character, is concerned.

If you’re looking for a small and entertaining book that is also executed well and written nicely, this is definitely worth a library request. There’s nothing overly heavy in here which after some of the intense reading I was doing at the end of the year was much needed for me.

Right now, I’m reading I, Claudius From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius Born 10 B.C. Murdered and Deified A.D. 54 another one I got from Robert and one I’m enjoying muchly.  What are you reading? Finish anything recently you particularly enjoyed?

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3 thoughts on “Quick Thoughts on The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

  1. I am a le Carre fan, and I consider “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: A George Smiley Novel” his best novel. A real masterpiece of suspense, of construction of atmosphere and of characters. I saw the movie last weekend, and it’s excellent. And by the way, it’s not a Hollywood movie at all (it’s British, produced in the UK, with British actors, etc. The closest to Hollywood it comes is Colin Firth in a supporting character). So I would read the book, and then maybe rent the DVD. It is worth watching it.

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  2. Pingback: 1001 Books Discussion: The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carre | The Lit Witch: A Book Blog

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