I have to let enough readers in the US finish it first.
John le Carre’s Smiley novels:
I decided to spend the rest of the year reading his famous ‘Karla’ trilogy, the triptych detailing the decades-long battle between the British spymaster George Smiley and his Russian counterpart, known simply as Karla. The first of these, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy has long since entered the canon of modern literature – probably because it seemed to so accurately capture the reality of the Soviet’s penetration of British intelligence in the 1950s and 60s before we understood just how complete that penetration was.
A number of things struck me when reading the novel, foremost among them the squalid reality of life in the early 1970s. There was no James Bond glamour in these books, even though some of the spies do spend their professional lives jetting around the world, staying in nice hotels, and hooking up with early 1970s hotties. Mostly everything is grimy, low tech, squalid and demeaning. The past is another country, and it really sucks back there.