The Honourable Schoolboy: The Smiley Collection

The Honourable Schoolboy: The Smiley Collection

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Author: John Le Carre

Format: Paperback / softback

Number of Pages: 688


George Smiley, now chief of the battered British Secret Service, seeks revenge for the betrayals of a Soviet double agent in the sixth Smiley novel.
Description
Author: John Le Carre

Format: Paperback / softback

Number of Pages: 688


George Smiley, now chief of the battered British Secret Service, seeks revenge for the betrayals of a Soviet double agent in the sixth Smiley novel.
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J
Josephine Emery
Does This Bomb Go Off?

John Le Carre’s ‘The Honorable Schoolboy’ distills the international madness around the end of the Vietnam War as seen through the eyes of a severely PTSD’d English spy. As Le Carre pioneered in his breakthrough novel, ‘The Spy That Came In From the Cold’, in the end defeat will always be snatched from the jaws of victory for the individual as the relentless machine of international espionage grinds on.

Le Carre’s saving graces are the care he lavishes on all his characters; his superb writing skills; and the ground-work he puts into bringing each scene to life. For us in Australia there’s much to resonate with in his Hong Kong, Aussie-led hard-drinking corps of Asian war correspondents as they try and turn the savage butchery of war into column inches of newspaper prose.

But Le Carre was a man of his times, which is to say relentlessly misogynistic (in his life as well as his fiction). Women are objects of male desire - even when he sees into their hearts and brings them to bruised life. The condescendingly racist attitudes he captures are all too familiar.

It’s a powerful book of its time. The ending is heart-wrenching. But I wonder if it would make sense for anyone who had not been in the Vietnam war ballot, or who had not seen their boyfriend on TV defusing bombs in Vietnam villages as they sat down to dinner in 1972?