I essentially decided to read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy because I really enjoyed the film, and I always think it’s good to experience a story in all its forms. However, either I had not watched the film carefully enough, or they changed it drastically from the book – there was very little that I could correlate between the book and what I remember of the film.
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the book. It is a very cleverly written spy-mystery-thriller, the twists and turns were convincing enough not to be ridiculous. Not only was this aspect of the story really gripping, but the characters were wonderfully explored as well. I built up a sympathy for a lot of the characters, which I think can be an uncommon feature of a book of this genre. In particular, I found I really felt for George Smiley and Bill Roach, the characters who seemed most aware of others. The other aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the feeling of insight you got into the world of the Secret Services. Considering le Carré is writing an almost auto-biographical story of his own betrayal as an MI6 agent in the 1960s, the precision and detail in his descriptions of the workings of MI6 are unsurprising.
Overall I think Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a really well-written, thrilling book that I just enjoyed a lot!
I have now just started Atonement, by Ian McEwan (continuing the theme of original books of films that I like), so watch out for my review of that!