I just finished "Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy" by John le Carre, one of the best spy novelists of the English language. One of the top rated novels by both the Telegram and the Guardian, it is not hard to see why after reading it. The complexities and the varied points of few throughout the story are similar to the prose style that le Carre uses in his other novels and it keeps the suspense high as you get closer to the climax. It has no trouble gripping you from the opening pages as you see the novel slowly unfold and build a history of the British Secret Service and the history of cold war espionage. It keeps a very realistic and dirty few as compared to the novels of Fleming, one of the other masters of spy novels in recent history.
The most interesting thing of le Carre is what he does not say but leaves to your imagination. The use of silence is hard to put into print and le Carre makes silence a very strong part of his novel. He gives you multiple point of views and yet the story and the central mystery remain mostly hidden to you throughout the novel though the hints are presented to you. This use of conveying the knowledge of the characters firmly to you as it would be presented to them forces you into their skin and it is that element that makes the novels so enrapturing. It is as if you are yourself pulling at the shoestrings and the means of state and trade craft are at your fingertips the whole time.
The ability to transport you into that world has always been one of the most special things that novels have ever done for me. To be able to escape into another world and see things different for a while is the magical feature of novels that always happens to some extent in all great forms of art, whether music, art, or writing. le Carre does it masterfully and it shows in the praise of his works as it does for a composer whose work is universally admired through both popular and critical society. Up next on the list of reading is Henry James' "Portrait of a Lady" a much older character study of the difference between European and American culture of the last century which is a popular thread in all of James' novel, though this will be the first one I've read with a female protagonist. Which always goes differently for me as I am not always a huge fan of female protagonist but lets hope that this one will be a worthy character of which to read about.
Music - Jay Z - The Blueprint Volume Three.
Originally posted on tjduhamel.vox.com