Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy | South China Morning Post
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  • Mar 6, 2015
  • Updated: 8:02pm

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 September, 2011, 12:00am

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
by John Le Carre
Sceptre (audiobook)

Sadly, Gary Oldman has yet to lend his cool tones to John Le Carre s classic work of restrained, English cold war paranoia. For the moment we have the admirable Michael Jayston, who played Peter Guillam in the BBC's 1979 TV adaptation starring Alec Guinness as George Smiley. Jayston has narrated a lot of Le Carre and one can understand why: his brusque croak is perfect for the bureaucratic dramas of these seminal espionage thrillers. The title refers to a number of British agents suspected of being Russian spies, or moles, as the Wind in the Willowish nickname has it. Smiley is lured from early retirement to tempt the mole out of his hole in the ground. As is normal in a Le Carre there are many red herrings as Russia and Britain play a precarious, but inventive game of global chicken: the plot could be summed up as I know you know that I know what you know. Jayston reads Smiley's clipped interactions with British intelligence (or the Circus) with skill; he's just as good when recalling, with quiet wistfulness, childhood memories at an English public school or caravanning holidays.

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