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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Starring Bernard Hepton as George Smiley (BBC Radio Collection) Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Jul 1989

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd (July 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563226420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563226420
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (310 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 392,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John le Carré was born in 1931. His third novel, THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, secured him a wide reputation which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, THE HONOURABLE SCHOOLBOY and SMILEY'S PEOPLE. His other novels include THE CONSTANT GARDENER, A MOST WANTED MAN and OUR KIND OF TRAITOR.

Product Description

Review

A great thriller, the best le Carré has written (Spectator)

John le Carré is the great master of the spy story . . . the constant flow of emotion lifts him above most novelists now practising (Financial Times)

A stunning story (Wall Street Journal )

Many readers obviously love reading their work. At a public appearance earlier this year, John le Carre confessed that he so loved doing the voices of certain characters that he had to stop himself writing them excessive parts. When you hear le Carre read, you realise how much all of his books are of a piece, all part of his creation of a consistent fictional world, with the same rhythms and ventriloquisms , sometimes almost croonings . . . great stuff. (Evening Standard) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A classic Le Carré now available on audio CD for the first time. Read by the author. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By molondas on 18 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
An excellent book which transcends the spy genre and dissects brilliantly the moral condition of human beings in the iciest days of the cold war: an atmosphere of ethical and political confusion/ambivalence, petty ambition and careless treachery pervades the whole work and provides a convincing backdrop for the examination of the nature of patriotism and the defence of a limited and faulty but ultimately worthy western liberalism.

And yet it is a book in which very little happens - it feels like a collection of dusty papers, assiduously compiled reports found in a filing cabinet in the corner of a room in Whitehall two decades after the fact... The ponderously procedural and bureaucratic nature of intelligence work, and the consequent difficulty of accessing "truth" are very well manipulated by LeCarre who develops the plot as a series of episodic vignettes, hazily recollected by some unseen witness.

The characters, their conversations and innermost thoughts, the themes and the all-too real denouement are utterly convincing, precisely because Le Carre is able to portray the mundane, humdrum nature of intelligence work and, above all, the plain, bitter-sweet patriotism of his hero, George Smiley.
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96 of 99 people found the following review helpful By J. E. Parry VINE VOICE on 8 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great change in pace against normal spy books. There are no wiz bangs and gorgeous women. It just revolves around old fashioned atmosphere and storytelling.

We follow the expolits of George Smiley, one of the Cold War's heroes, as he is tasked with finding a Soviet mole imbedded within MI6. He was ousted in a shake-up following the overthrow, and demise, of the previous "Control" of MI6 - another name for James Bond's M.

He is outside the current regime that the mole is part of and his search is therefore reliant on old fashioned techniques of infiltarion and intelligence gathering.

I hadn't read this in about 20 years but was swept back into Smiley's world. Le Carre has a reputation for outstanding work and this is one of his best.

I won't give the game away as I hate plot spoilers. If you want to read an authentic Cold War spy story then this is for you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Anders Thulin on 19 July 2010
Format: Audio CD
This is the second radio dramatization of Tinker, Tailor -- the first one appeared in 1989, with Bernard Hepton as Smiley.

This recording from 2010 is also three-hour performance, though in this case BBC has been kind enough to keep closer the original radio format, with announcements and credits at the beginning and end of each CD.

It is without question a very good performance. I can't fault Simon Russell Beale as Smiley in any important respect, not would I wish to. My personal highlights are: Ann Smiley (played by Anna Chancellor) who gets a reasonably prominent place as a voice in Smiley's head, where she undoubtedly belongs; Bill Haydon (played by Michael Feast), who gets a slight dash of snobbery, which I think suits the role; and Maggie Steed as Connie Sachs.

It's fairly close to the book -- in some places, I could swear they are reading straight from the pages, as I recognize familiar passages. And I have now listened to it three times, and I have not yet found a single rustle of scripts that shouldn't be there, although I must admit the performance sometimes make
me forget to listen critically.

So ... highly recommended.

Yet ...

For those who already know the older version with Bernard Hepton it is probably fair to say that I still rank that slightly higher, overall. I'm not entirely sure why.

Perhaps it is that it didn't require a narrator (which function is here taken on by Peter Guillam played by Ewan Bailey, who sometimes tells us things that Guillam actually wouldn't have known), or that it was played out in 'straight time', so there was no need for flashbacks, as here.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. Harris on 13 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not only is this probably Le Carre's best work, but I'd rate it as one of the best novels of the 1970s. It perfectly captures the feeling of Britain's post-war decline and nostalgia for a greater time. It is a beautifully written, highly convincing story of the hunt for a high-ranking mole in the British Secret Service, with the effect of this on the memorable central characters (not least unlikely hero George Smiley) subtly portrayed. A gripping, immensely satisfying Cold-War thriller. And a great novel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alfred J. Kwak on 2 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
After publishing three books with George Smiley (GS) in a major or minor role, and one spy novel without him (A Small Town in Germany), John Le Carré (JLC) produced the monumental "Karla"- trilogy with GS as the undisputed hero.
This volume, first published in 1974, is Part One of the trilogy and in this reviewer's opinion JLC's very best creation among many other masterpieces. The principal theme in the book is the search for a "mole", an inside man turned traitor, within the higher echelons of the Circus, which runs some 600 agents worldwide. There have been inexplicable failures and disappointments. Control, the nameless head of the Circus is becoming suspicious of all of his staff, at a time when his health is declining rapidly. He becomes an increasingly marginalised person, poring over piles and piles of files, when a new source managed by a man keen to take Control's place, begins to enthral Whitehall with high quality reports...
Suddenly brought out of retirement, GS attends the debriefing of a rather dubious field agent and is requested to pursue the outcomes of the interview. In utter secrecy, GS starts his campaign to find the mole, aided by the trusted Peter Guillam and Retired Inspector (Special Branch) Mendel, who appeared first in JLC's debut Call for the Dead.
What makes this book exceptional is its plot, its dialogues, its atmosphere and more than ever, its characters. Chapter One about unhappy public schoolboy Bill "Jumbo" Roach meeting ex-betrayed spy, shot in the back, Jim "Rhino" Prideaux, ranks among the greatest first chapters in spy novels, on par with Trevanian's opening of The Loo Sanction. Totally brilliant.
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