Rest in Peace, John le Carré
by Abby Porter, Assistant Director
David John Moore Cornwall, better known as John le Carré, passed away on December 12 and he was one of my favorite authors. I wanted to honor him and his famous character George Smiley by creating this list of my favorite of his novels and movies inspired by his works. During the 1950’s and 1960’s, le Carré really did work for MI5 and MI6, which gives his plots and characters realism. His son Nick Harkaway is also an excellent science fiction writer!
- The Spy Who Came in From the Cold – The spy in this novel wants to retire, but is convinced to take one last very difficult job. This book is technically in the George Smiley series, but features him very briefly. It is also an excellent movie!
- The Looking Glass War (audiobook)– This novel is about the politics at play between MI5 and MI6 and is a fascinating look at how a fragile ego can change the world.
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (movie, mini-series) – Widely considered le Carré’s masterpiece, I couldn’t choose between the movie and the mini-series! The movie creates the perfect tone and atmosphere, with great costumes and talented actors. The mini-series features legend Alec Guiness as George Smiley and is incredibly nuanced. It captures the smaller moments of the book and explains everything in-depth beautifully. I go back to both regularly!
- The Night Manager – This series came out a few years ago with Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie and is just perfect! It is incredibly compelling and I couldn’t stop watching.
- The Constant Gardener – A young British woman is killed in Kenya and her husband is desperate for answers, but doesn’t like what he finds. Ralph Fiennes is so great as the main character and the movie was nominated for several Academy Awards.
- Call for the Dead – This is le Carré’s first novel. It is much shorter and arguably more fun to read. It is essentially a murder mystery, but still features George Smiley, as he looks into the apparent suicide of a friend and former colleague.