Smiley's People Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Smiley's People

Information falls into the hands of Britains MI-5 (counterintel) that a spymaster for the KGB, codename KARLA, has a mentally ill daughter, secreted in a Swiss institution, without the knowledge, or permission, of KARLA's superiors. This information is used by George Smiley, an introverted, recently cuckholded (by a KGB mole, nonetheless, placed by KARLA) to blackmail KARLA into defecting to the UK.
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The review of this Book prepared by Pete McKenna

John Le Carre is acknowledged to be one of the best writers to day in the league of Graham Greene etc. For people used to Ludlum, Ian Fleming, Tom Clancy, Alistair Maclean etc. Lecarre is an enigma, something very different and difficult to get used to. Le carre is like Japanese Sushi, you have to work towards developing a taste for it, and then there is nothing like it.

After having read the likes of Ian Fleming, etc, and having seen a number of James Bond type spy-thriller movies, one has an image of spy-world being glamorous, action packed, thrilling and adventurous. Lecarre demolishes the image and tells us the scene as it really is. Lecarre seems to have an insider knowledge having worked with British Intelligence.
The world of spies, who are nothing but another variety of civil servants/bureaucrats, these people too are victims of same problems as anyone else, lowly paid salaries, office-politics,messed-up personal lives, whimsical bosses, never ending drudgery of work,limited resources, and bureaucratic inertia and hurdles, There is no fast paced action, no bag-bag, no glamour, no glitz, rather Lecarre goes out of the way to deglamorise the whole thing, and shows us really how the spies work. Endless hours of poring over files, painstaking analysis, inquiries, interrogations, putting together millions of bits of information and trying to make sense, find a pattern. Lecarre describes all this in authentic detail.

Lecarre's books have credible characters who are ordinary mortals, very much fallible, very much human, compelling storylines, seamless continuity, phenomenal attention to details, and hard realism without sensationalism.

Smiley's people is the best of Lecarre, the swansong of George Smiley, the brilliant master-spy who appears in many of Lecarre books.

Smiley, the retired chief of Secret service is called back to solve a puzzling case. The reluctant, recluse, tottering old man starts investigation, which leads him to case of very high level involvement. Methodical, painstaking analysis, apologetic interrogations, journeys back into the murky world which he had left behind, and a lot of hard work leads Smiley to achieve one of the biggest victories for the free world, especially for the British Intelligence.

The last scene, which makes you bite nails till climax, also makes you sad when Smiley doesn't even want to be around to receive the accolades. He quietly melts away into anonymity.

This book is highly recommended to the spy story lovers, and especially for those who haven't read Lecarre earlier. This is good book to start reading Lecarre because all his other books are much more difficult to like and appreciate

The review of this Book prepared by r b siddhanti

Chapter Analysis of Smiley's People

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 65%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20% Tone of story    -   depressing/sad Time/era of story:    -   1960's-1970's Spying/Terrorism Thriller    -   Yes Cloak & Dagger Plotlets:    -   political blackmail    -   main char. spying/sabotage    -   stopping a saboteur/spy    -   kidnap/rescue Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Who's the terrorist enemy here?    -   spy ring

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   unemployed    -   spy Age:    -   60's-90's Ethnicity/Race    -   British


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK    -   Germany    -   Eastern Europe    -   Switzerland Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   Russia Misc setting    -   prison

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Unusual forms of death    -   run over    -   crushed Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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