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on 1 July 2017
Having watched and loved the TV series I bought this book with high expectations of a more in depth version with perhaps some interesting differences.

Unfortunately I did not enjoy this book at all. If, like me you are thinking of coming to this having enjoyed the show and you are not already a firm Le Carre fan I would warn you to be cautious and perhaps save your time.

Le Carre is obviously a very good writer and I can see how this novel will be enjoyed by his fans.

But I found it a real chore. The sections involving Jonathan, which the TV show more or less copied, are fine. However, the chapters involving the ministers and high level spooks were incredibly tedious. For much of those sections I had very little idea what was going on and it was far too easy to completely lose track of all the names. Le Carre writes these scenes as if you were part of these groups and should know all the lingo- but being a passive observer in numerous dull meetings involving all sorts of specialist discussion I wasn't given enough information to understand does not make for a good novel.

A section that felt like 100 pages near the very end was especially impenetrable. I read a lot and am not thick but I didn't have a clue what was going on.

If, like me you looked forward to a brilliant, clever ending like the show then I fear you will be disappointed as well.

I enjoyed the Constant Gardener but it will be a while before I take a chance on me Carre again. If you are approaching this novel in the same circumstances as me then just beware
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on 26 May 2017
Have not got on with John le Carre in the past. Only read this because of the TV prog. and wanted to find out what the changes had been to the book. Quite a few. Interesting as well that John le Carre had commented on his books that have been either televised or filmed and all the changes that are made to his books. I enjoyed the read and will now try some more John le carre.
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on 20 August 2017
I have been a writer and book editor for most of my life, and my comments should be viewed in that context. Le Carre was a bestselling author with a loyal audience. I don't dispute his knowledge of subject matter. However, this novel shows what can happen to a writer past his best, yet still pressed by his publisher to keep churning out the books. The plot is disjointed, sentences are frequently as long as paragraphs and highly convoluted, and the density of detail - far from illuminating and enriching the narrative, becomes a thicket of thorns that impede and deter the reader. Perhaps because Le Carre was so renowned by the time the novel was offered up, his publisher felt unable to say, "Sorry, old boy; but either you work with an editor to reduce the extraneous verbiage and tighten up the structure, or we will have to turn this one down." As it stands, this book would not withstand the scrutiny of the average Creative Writing 101 course. I urge you not to waste your money, as I have. There are far better novels and novelists out there. Thank god.
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on 8 May 2017
It took me a while to get into this book. Hence the 4stars. I'm not sure if this was because I kept trying to visualise and compare it to the tv series. But about half way through it gripped my attention. Saying that it isn't a read that I would like to do again.
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on 18 July 2017
I found this really difficult to get into ... and wish I had read it prior to watching the television series. The sequence of events in the book is so different and I found myself getting lost. However, it is le Carre and is beautifully written, just takes a while to get going I thought.
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on 17 March 2017
Very exciting story, not spoiled if you have seen it on TV already. Adds many background details which makes it even better.
The last quarter of the story doesn't roll out in quite the same way but it still arrives at a satisfactory conclusion. Excellent!
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on 21 May 2017
The TV series did excellent justice to the book with much of the dialogue taken directly from it. Le Carre writes beautifully and this is no exception, though some of the machinations in Whitehall and attached elliptical references are a bit hard to follow. Otherwise, it's an excellent read. I'm just sorry it has a film cover. Grrrrrrrrrr!
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I could not put this book down and fingers crossed there will be a follow-up if that is possible for the future.
Paul Butterworth
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on 13 April 2016
You should read the book after seeing the tv show. tv does not do the story/book justice. (make sure you get the right one) have seen 3 copy's.
A Great Read.
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on 8 March 2017
Better than the BBC show, this is classic Carre. Taut, dark and sometimes Wodehousian surreal. Brilliant. As good as the Smiley novels.
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