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I've never read anything by John Le Carre

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    I've never read anything by John Le Carre

    ... and obviously I don't know an easy/quick way to type an e acute.

    But anyway, I'd like to try him. Which novel should I read first?

    #2
    I tried reading one of my mum's Le Carre novels when I was about 14 and gave up. Always meant to go back and try another one.

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      #3
      Me neither. I like the films.

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        #4
        The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was his first large success, and I'd suggest it as a good introduction to both his style and most common themes.

        It also has the advantage of not being part of a series (unlike the Karla Trilogy or the other more Smiley-centric books) and is shorter than some of his later work.

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          #5
          It's such a legend that I felt a bit let down when I finally got around to reading it, tbh. But that's with most things, I think. I find I end up looking for much larger themes or ideas or something, and generally just find a good story.

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            #6
            David Cornwell once put The Spy Who Came In From the Cold at the head of his list of the best John le Carré books. Given that Cornwell is John le Carré, that seems recommendation enough.

            Originally posted by WOM View Post
            It's such a legend that I felt a bit let down when I finally got around to reading it, tbh. But that's with most things, I think. I find I end up looking for much larger themes or ideas or something, and generally just find a good story.
            What sort of larger theme were you looking for WOM? I would argue that one of the main things that le Carré is pushing is the fundamental emptiness and moral vacuum of Intelligence work. It's sort of an anti-theme.

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              #7
              I read The Spy... during a period of hospitalisation a while back and blazed through it (it’s quite a short book). It’s a great story and its portrayal of the Western intelligence agencies as being every bit as devious, corrupt and manipulative as those behind the Iron Curtain would have been a creatively courageous move at the time, I think. It’s not something you find often in the spy genre, not even now despite the fact that we all know now just how evil the likes of the CIA and MI6 are. A key character’s bitter rant about spies being in reality sad little men playing games of cops and robbers, as opposed to demigods like Bond, stayed with me. The book has dated – how could it not have? – but it would be well worth a read.

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                #8
                Originally posted by Janik View Post
                What sort of larger theme were you looking for WOM? I would argue that one of the main things that le Carré is pushing is the fundamental emptiness and moral vacuum of Intelligence work. It's sort of an anti-theme.
                Yeah, no idea really. It's just...you know when you hear the title of a book your whole life and think "there's really going to be something epic in there" when I get around to reading it. And then...it's just a story. Like, in music when you hear an album that causes your head to swivel in a whole other direction, or a sound that makes you think 'how did I live without knowing that sound'? I had perhaps artificially high expectations for it.

                I'm reading A Farewell To Arms right now and am experience the same "meh...it's just a story". No slight to the work, but I was expecting something life-altering.

                Why...I don't know.

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                  #9
                  Definitely the spy who came in from the cold. It's short, tight and brilliant.

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                    #10
                    Maybe I'll reread it.

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                      #11
                      Alt + 0233

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                        #12
                        Actually AltGr + E also works on my keyboard. Can't believe I've only just noticed this.

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                          #13
                          ééééééééééééééééé. Thanks Fussbudget!

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                            #14
                            On a Mac, option+e and then type e.

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by WOM View Post
                              Yeah, no idea really. It's just...you know when you hear the title of a book your whole life and think "there's really going to be something epic in there" when I get around to reading it. And then...it's just a story. Like, in music when you hear an album that causes your head to swivel in a whole other direction, or a sound that makes you think 'how did I live without knowing that sound'? I had perhaps artificially high expectations for it.

                              I'm reading A Farewell To Arms right now and am experience the same "meh...it's just a story". No slight to the work, but I was expecting something life-altering.

                              Why...I don't know.
                              I just listened to FTA read by John Slattery. Hemingway is more about the style than the story.

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                                #16
                                I always use Ctrl+Alt+whichever vowel I want an acute on. I have the numerical keypad combos for various other characters (ê, ¡, ¿, ñ, ç, ö, ã, ü, etc.) in my muscle memory – when I'm in front of keyboard they come to me, but right now I'm not and I can't actually think which numbers give me which character.

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                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Hot Pepsi View Post
                                  I just listened to FTA read by John Slattery. Hemingway is more about the style than the story.
                                  That's a hell of a lot of effort just to make an thoughtful reply to a post. Cheers man.

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                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Fussbudget View Post
                                    Alt + 0233
                                    Excellent title for a book.

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                                      #19
                                      The great prose stylist of the contemporary era.

                                      Personally, I'd start with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, as it's a really gripping and deep immersion in the world of espionage that feels absolutely authentic.

                                      The Spy Who Came In From The Cold is absolutely brilliant and you could read it in a day. However, I'd venture that it's quite an enigmatic and even experimental book in some ways. It deliberately plays with what the reader does know and what they don't, and what is said and not said in this very short book. So it feels almost like a short story to me, and is a little different to some of his later ventures into that world.

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                                        #20
                                        é

                                        Wow!

                                        á
                                        í
                                        ó
                                        ú

                                        Alt Gr works for all of them

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                                          #21
                                          Anyone know how you can get an a with a little hat on it?

                                          Asking for my friend, Sian.

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                                            #22

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                                              #23
                                              And German quotation marks?

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