Friday, April 13, 2012

A to Z Blogging Challenge - L is for Laurie and LeCarre

I probably really shouldn't be putting the author of one book that is the parody of James Bond novels with a master spy storyteller who writes books that are the anti-Bond but here goes -

One weekend at my grandparent's house growing up I read all of my grandmother's James Bond books. They're quite enjoyable and better than the movies mainly because James Bond is a little more human in them. There are disadvantages to the books though, any woman that eats or sleeps with James Bond dies, except for two of them. And later I found out Walther PPK's are horribly bulky, inefficient guns that no respectable spy would carry and vodka martinis, really? Vodka martinis are just shots of vodka in a fancy glass which when you combine that with all the trouble Bond causes MI6, it's easy to take the leap that really he's a double agent for SMERSH.

Which brings us to John LeCarré, who actually worked for MI5 and MI6. In the books we're shown that spying can be hampered by politics, personal vendettas and ideals that are too black and white. Not to mention spying is nowhere near as glamorous as Bond would have you believe even when it goes to exotic locales. Triumphs in The Quest for Karla are often Pyrrhic victories. It's hard not to want to wrap George Smiley in a warm blanket and bring him a cup of tea. If you don't want to read the books, I highly recommend the TV miniseries of the first and third books. I also recommend the recent movie of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy but I do worry that the movie is better if you've read the book or seen the miniseries first.

Yes, that Hugh Laurie. The Gun Seller is his only novel. It's James Bond if James Bond were more human, cynical and witty. You may have noticed that I like parodies. The book is filled with paragraphs like the following -
They said it was a sitting-room, but I don’t know why they’d decided to confine its purpose just to sitting. Obviously, sitting was one of the things you could do in a room this size; but you could also stage operas, hold cycling races, and have an absolutely cracking game of frisbee, all at the same time, without having to move any of the furniture. It could rain in a room this big.
If you end up reading LeCarré, you may want to read this afterwards to cheer you up.

This post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Take a scroll through the signup list and click on some other participants for this year. 

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