Smiley's People

A George Smiley Novel
Narrated by: Michael Jayston
Series: Smiley, Book 7
Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
5 out of 5 stars (933 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Tell Max that it concerns the Sandman....

A very junior agent answers Vladimir's call, but it could have been the Chief of the Circus himself. No one at the British Secret Service considers the old spy to be anything except a senile has-been who can't give up the game - until he's shot in the face at point-blank range. Although George Smiley (code-name: Max) is officially retired, he's summoned to identify the body now bearing Moscow Centre's bloody imprimatur. As he works to unearth his friend's fatal secrets, Smiley heads inexorably toward one final reckoning with Karla - his "dark grail".

In Smiley's People, master storyteller John le Carré brings his acclaimed Karla trilogy to its unforgettable, spellbinding conclusion.

©1980 John le Carré (P)2011 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"The conclusion to the famous Karla trilogy, in which George Smiley attempts to entrap his Soviet counterpart and settle old scores, is magnificent on audio.... Through the narration of British actor Jayston, layers of interpretive sound collide in fantastic verisimilitude.... His European and Russian dialects are convincing, enhanced as they are by sensitive pacing, clear enunciation and vocal moods so appropriate that the listener enters the text completely. A wonderful performance." (AudioFile)  

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

NEAR Perfect Ending for One Best Trilogies Ever

Like with the Honourable Schoolboy, Smiley's People on its own is perhaps a 4/4.5 star novel. It is fantastic, but taken as an entire work, the Karla Trilogy is simply amazing

A near perfect ending for one of the, if not THE, best trilogies ever (LOTR perhaps). Is there a better summation for the place we find ourselves HERE and NOW in this the 21st century? Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was a fantastic spy novel that owed a lot to Graham Greene; The Honourable Schoolboy was another fantastic spy novel that owed lots to Joseph Conrad; but with Smiley's people, after reading/listening to it, you realize John le Carré owes nobody nishto now. He owns the genre.

Michael Jayston does an amazing job narrating le Carré. He belongs in the top shelf of audiobook narrators. His variation for voices is different enough to distinguished the characters, but subtle enough to not distract from the flow of the narrative or the melody of le Carré's prose.

26 people found this helpful

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extraordinary reading

What did you love best about Smiley's People?

Michael Jayston has a remarkable way with subtle changes to his voice; I have been familiar with his acting work since I lived in England in the 1960s. I watched him in the original BBC production of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, where he played Guillam. In this reading of Smiley's People, his vocal work as the excitable Pole Toby Esterhaze is memorable. He gets JUST the right amount of twisted English to reflect the man's origins even though he has lived in England for many years. And his voice for George Smiley is perfect. One can see Alec Guiness's face (the original Smiley of the BBC classic) as Jayston speaks his lines.

What does Michael Jayston bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The VOICES which are perfect!!

4 people found this helpful

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Solid Smiley, Solid le Carré

This is the seventh book of le Carré's that I have read in the last six months or so, most on audiobook. And it is definatly in the top half. Not sure the exact position, but le Carré seems to get the right balance of telling the reading what we need to know, but keeping us just enough in the dark to keep the mystery present.

Smiley's People is better than the Honorable Schoolboy and I think a great conclusion to the Karla trilogy.

1 person found this helpful

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nice round up of the Karla set

excellent and well written, i enjoyed the entire Smiley series even though technically he's not the main character in some of them and only pops up intermittently.

1 person found this helpful

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the best

What did you love best about Smiley's People?

smiley the character is one of the most enjoyable characters in fiction - he's a hero and so common at the same time

What was one of the most memorable moments of Smiley's People?

interrogation of gregoriev

Which character – as performed by Michael Jayston – was your favorite?

smiley

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

karla in dehli jail

Any additional comments?

the reader jayston is just so good

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic finish!

Fantastic finish! LeCarre said that this book was the completion of the George Smiley story, and a better "completion" could not be written!!!!!

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Like a movie for the ears

John Le Carré comes as close to true life as anyone else. He has the gift of detail that makes you feel like you’re there and the narration by Michael Jayston is absolutely wonderful.

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Skillfully written and well performed

Michael Jayston gives another standout performance playing George Smiley and his supporting cast in this the last of the Karla Trilogy. This is an intricate plot skillfully constructed that is entertaining and absorbing.

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Excellent.

A masterful summation of the Karla trilogy, its many threads brought together in an elegant tapestry of word, meaning and revelation. Le Carré at his best.

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Excellent execution

Of a brilliant story. Jayston’s reading is flawless and captures the nuances of Smiley’s complex relationship to his life and work