The cliché goes that the cold war ended with barely a shot being fired. More precisely, it ended because barely a shot was fired.
Le Carré realised that artful complexity, creative bafflement and surprising revelation are at the core of the serious espionage novel, and these aspects are nowhere better exemplified than in Schoolboy. It’s not a perfect novel – as ever, le Carré has his own idiosyncratic writerly flaws mixed in with his overall mastery of the detail and the considerable moving parts of the plot – but Schoolboy does show him at the height of his powers. It’s a very ambitious, dense and confident novel, and the fact that it’s never been filmed is a telling, backhanded tribute to its scale and heft.
I have written about it, and I have remained confounded that it is not universally regarded as canonical. It’s Christina Stead’s great novel from the mid-20th century. It has three world-class characters. Most novelists don’t produce any world-class characters. There are three in that one book. It seems to me an undeniably feminist text; I don’t understand why it’s not canonical in women’s studies programs.
The continent should play to its strengths, from sanctions and diplomacy to soft power
“I am here.” “Missing man in Turkey accidentally joins his own search party before realising he was the person they were looking for.”
Newscientist: Marie Antoinette's Censored Love Letters Have Been Read Using X-Rays