07 September 2011

'Tinker, Tailor...' Anyone?, or, New Life in Venice

'Who will spy on the spies?' What unlikely Hercules (in a trench coat) will 'clean the stables'?

The big news so far from the Venice Film Festival has been the critical raves for Tomas Alfredson's new adaptation of John le Carré's 1974 novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, starring no less than Gary Oldman (as George Smiley), Kathy Burke, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Ciarán Hinds, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong...: an amazing cast. (The film opens at the end of next week in the UK and Ireland, and in early December in the US.)

Le Carré's novel, which, along with the 1979 BBC adaptation starring Alec Guinness, taught most of the English-speaking world the term 'mole' (in the sense of embedded double agent, 'defector in place': who is the mole?), was the first, and best-remembered, in the so-called Karla trilogy, but Smiley had been a recurring character in le Carré's books since Call for the Dead (1961).

The new film has received enthusiastic reviews in the Guardian and the Telegraph (which also used the occasion this morning to salute le Carré himself).

I've just been realizing that I haven't read the novel since the 1970s. I have a habit of yielding with very little resistance to the marketer's general exhortation to 'read the book, see the movie' (which I'd like to blog about another time, but which obviously plays a role even in my choice of 'content' for this blog)--and it wasn't long ago that I decided that any book I hadn't read for seven or more years I could count as more or less unread. So I've downloaded a copy of Tinker, Tailor… and will be inhaling it soon. (Yes, sometimes Jascha just reads!)

The purpose of this post is to invite you to join me in the process. This is one of the few times I'll roll out all the links at my disposal: Kindle UK, iBooks UK, Kindle USnook, Kindle Germany and iBooks Germany. I'd love to hear what you think of both the book and the film. (Of course, if you have problems with these or any other links, let me know that, too, and I'll do my best to fix what's wrong.) So let's... stay in touch....

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