Smiley's People : Smiley

  • by John le Carré
  • Narrated by Michael Jayston
  • Series: Smiley
  • 14 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

George Smiley was summoned from his dubious retirement by two seemingly unconnected events - an old woman in Paris is promised the return of a daughter she will never see, and a handover is to take place on a steamer in Hamburg.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An underrated writer

Another engaging and thought provoking novel by John le Carre. It is a pity he is known primarily as the writer of excellent spy novels, i.e. thrilling plots, rather than simply as an excellent writer. His powers of observation, the description of settings and characters, the analysis of their motives and his skills as a writer should have been awarded a prize long ago.

Michael Jayston does the author justice with his reading. He is one of the great narrators of audiobooks. Amongst his merits is the ability to pronounce most foreign names without mangling them - quite an achievement in an era where the majority narrators no longer trouble to research the pronunciation of foreign words, often rendering them utterly incomprehensible.

Buy this book. It is worth every penny.
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- Claudia

Like meeting an old friend after way too long

I read the book when it first came out years ago. At the time I felt that it was a bit of a let-down compared to the two previous novels, 'Tinker, Tailor' and 'The Honourable Schoolboy'. Having revisited it with this reading, I feel I was too harsh. Maybe I have just got used to poorer fare from lesser authors. This is high quality Le Carre, and for anyone steeped in the books from years back, it is like welcoming an old friend and wondering why it has taken so long.

The characters are life-like; flawed but in a realistic, patchy way rather than the black-and-white of many inferior thrillers. Even though you know the ending, the journey is the thing, with our old gunslinger on one last, lonely quest. If you do not know it, I will not spoil it, but it is a lovely finish to the Smiley saga. The pace is better than I remember. It is certainly better than the TV series, which I suspect the BBC felt needed to appeal to a broader audience given the success of 'Tinker, Tailor'.

Last words need to go to Michael Jayston; a veteran of the original TV series (though not 'Smiley's People') and of many Le Carre readings. He absolutely nails this book, clearly reveres the Sir Alec Guinness characterisation and brings it to life superbly.

This is a joy to listen to and has proven the perfect Le Carre introduction for my wife. Now she knows what I have been banging on about.
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- Derrick

Book Details

  • Release Date: 19-11-2010
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.