October 13, 2010

Re-Reading 'The Spy Who Came In From The Cold'

It's been months now, but I've been meaning to post this article about re-reading the classic John LeCarre novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold:
One forgets just how unsparing the book is, how the picture it paints of human motivations, human duplicities, human frailty seems presciently aware of all that we have learned and unlearned in the intervening decades. The world was, on the surface, a more innocent, more straightforward place in the early 1960s: there were good guys and bad guys and they were easy to spot. One of the shock effects of reading The Spy when it was published must have been the near-nihilism of its message. It is unremittingly dark – or almost so – and this fact, I believe, lies at the root of its greatness.
By the way, don't miss the excellent film of John LeCarre's novel, starring Richard Burton, and currently released by Criterion.


  1. I just read this for the first time a week or so ago. The last scene is haunting in its plausibility.

  2. isn't that funny...something must be in the air b/c several people have told me they were reading it.

  3. The best love story I ever read...