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4.3 out of 5 stars
230
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 7 May 2012
Call For The Dead was Le Carre's first book and also introduced George Smiley to the reading public. It's a moderately thin read (157 pages) and the plot is relatively straightforward, with no substantive subplots. What marks Le Carre out is his voice and the careful layering and rhythm of the prose. In many ways, the storytelling style of Call for the Dead reminded me of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo's Martin Beck series, which was first published a couple of years later, in that the style is social realism (rather than noirish style of American hardboiled or the more swashbuckling style of spy thrillers such as Ian Fleming) and the pace is quite sedate as the story works its way to a somewhat understated climax. Like Martin Beck, Smiley is a fairly ordinary character who works through a case patiently and dogmatically, though he is a little more impetuous and foolhardy, and shares the donnish qualities of Colin Dexter's Morse. I read a number of the Smiley books when I was a teenager and it was interesting to revisit him now, especially since the character I remember was slightly different to the one presented (I thought of him as more enigmatic and calculating). Having looked around on the internet it seems that Smiley's character did mutate a little and his back story and career timeline altered quite substantially between books. He nevertheless remains one of fiction's enduring spy characters.
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on 10 November 2016
After reading The Night Manager I wouldn't waste my time reading a difficult & extended boring storey . Le carrie is Hard work
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on 3 October 2016
I enjoyed this book very much. For the first time ever, I tried the audio- version. The narration was superb. Only negative: the audio narration is interrupted brusquely one paragraph from the end....I had to read the last few lines. I was left wondering why the narration is not taken right to the end?!?
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on 9 June 2013
So good, return to early Le Carre, simple story with some of the core characters who return in Tinker,Tailor,.Takes you back to a simpler reality with switch boards and a surface mail service more reliable than Google. The background to Smiley and Anne also helps the understanding of his later noves.
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on 4 December 2015
An intriguing spy story set, and written, in the early 1960s at the height of the cold war. Very well written, you are taken along by George Smiley as he gradually unravels mystery of why a senior Foreign Office official dies the day after Smiley interviews him about a security issue
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on 14 August 2013
i think this is the first of the Smiley books and sets the scene well. I like Smiley's hero - He feels real - he's scared, unfit intelligent and a bit nerdy and you just root for him. I didnt read this in order - as ive read most of the others now, it didn't really matter though.
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on 15 September 2012
I bought "Call for the Dead" because I wanted to have all the novels featuring Smiley. I didn't know the meaning of "ER" and this was the only paperback
version. I was very disappointed when I received the book though. It's a simplified edition for students of English as a foreign language and "ER" means Easy Readers. Pity this hadn't been included in the book description.
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on 1 February 2015
Astonishing when you consider this was his debut. The characterisation and plotting is superb. This marks the beginning of a truly amazing career that has now eclipsed over five decades. It will be a tragedy when his pen is finally halted. A must for all smiley fans.
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on 22 April 2014
Having read Tinker, Taylor and Smiley's People years ago, I finally got around to reading this. I am glad I did. It gave valuable background to where Smiley came from. Not what I was expecting either. So many spy novels can get very similar but this isn't.
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on 8 February 2013
le carre never fails,every book is a masterpiece and they always entertain it is no wonder so many have been made into films and tv adaptations.call for dead is no exception,the characters are so real and situations so believable awsome in every way.
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