If you love a good plot and a way to understand modern Russia...this is a book you'll want to listen to. I say "listen to" rather than "read" because I'm reviewing this book as an audio file. I find some books great to read but hard to follow in audible form. I listen while exercising, and can pay pretty close attention, but some I find myself getting lost or doing lots of "rewinding" with some books. Not this one. Though lots of action and plot turns, this was a joy to listen to. As a person who goes to Russia frequently, I found its description of Russian places and customs accurate. It combines a good knowledge of current Russian culture and thought with a good bit of Russian history from the beginning of the 20th century. I hated to see my exercise work outs come to an end because I wanted to know what happened next. This one will keep you listening.
I had recently read Moby Dick in print form, then listened to this audio version. Don't know if I could have followed the story on the audio without having read it first... it would have required rapt attention. And an occasional pause to consult the dictionary! This was a very enjoyable listen... and drew me into the story quite powerfully!
After listening to Moby Dick, I felt like I could hunt, harpoon, skin, and boil down the oil from a whale! While some complain of Melville's excursions into the details of whaling ships, whaling life, and whales, I found it facinating!
Ahab is revealed as a conflicted,
The cost of revenge... to one and to many.
I can see why many consider this one of the best... if not the best... American novel. I know I will be visiting this novel again, and possibly soon.
First, let me confess that I first read and fell in love with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in the 70's when it was first published. It is in my opinion the best cold war spy novel ever written. Since reading this I've read every book LeCarre' has written, and Tinker, Tailor is still in my opinion the best.
Then add the narration of Frederick Davidson, and it just doesn't get any better than that! I have ordered audio books simply because Davidson is the narrator... I think he is that good. The sound quality on this book isn't the best, but is acceptable.
No one can develop characters in a spy novel like LeCarre'. Even minor characters are interesting and believable. This novel changed the way I look at spying... and at the cold war.
I am now listening to this novel for the third time... I last listened to it about a year ago. LeCarre' is such a master with words and so talented at setting scenes and moods that I just enjoy listening to him being read! And George Smiley, who shows up again in the novel Smiley's People (which I also highly recommend) has been made such a real figure that I really expected to bump into him the last time I was in England.
OK, maybe this is too glowing a review... but I've listened to or read a multitude of spy and mystery novels, and this is the one that I use to compare and rate all others.
The only thing I recommend after you read/listen to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is that you then rent the BBC production of this novel, staring Alec Guinness. About five hours in length, it is amazing close to the novel, taking all of its sparkling dialogue directly from the pages of the book. But read/listen to the novel first... it will make the BBC production much more enjoyable. Simply put, Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy is the best.
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