Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
based on the novel by John le Carré
I’ve started to make it a policy to read the novel before I see a film these days, although sometimes I don’t know until the opening credits that a film is eligible for review here at The Literary Omnivore. C’est la vie. This policy drove me to read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as homework to watch the film version, which is so full of beloved British actors that it’s not even funny. Now, since I had great difficulty in trying to connect to the novel that proved insurmountable, the film loomed even larger in my imagination as a possible means of redemption. Eventually, I nabbed it from the library, made a makeshift couch for myself in my room (the common room’s television was taken! Curses!), and watched, open-mouthed and quietly, for two hours.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
Let’s face it; I read this because I wanted to see the movie, which is one of those British films with an all-star cast. (It is a bit easier when your island is so small.) As someone with bad taste, I’m acutely aware of the fact that whatever I come to first, I like better—the book or the movie, the original or the cover. (I think the only time this has failed is with “Helter Skelter”, which I thought Pat Benatar had written for a few weeks. Yep.) So I knew I would need to read the novel first. But I waffled a bit; it’s part of a series, after all, and I’m a completionist. The first novel in the George Smiley series was on my list until I decided to streamline things and just pick up Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and get it over with. After several weeks of bashing my head against the wall the novel turned out to be, I realized it was really the best choice.
My dear and beloved readers, something momentous has occurred. While talking to my friend Andrea on Sunday, I felt strange. After all this time, I’m ready. I finally actively want to read mystery. Of course, my definition of mystery is a bit broader than most, given my long break from the genre…
I saw this article the other day that asked, “Are you ashamed of skipping parts of books?” Which, naturally, made me want to ask all of YOU.
Do you skip ahead in a book? Do you feel badly about it when you do?
Oh, what a ghastly thought! I can’t skip ahead in books, even if the book is a collection of essays or short stories that actually allows you to do so without possibly missing anything important. I’m just petrified that I’ll miss something, you know? I have the same problem with television, films, and book series. For instance, I want to read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy so I can watch the film, but I feel like I have to start at the beginning of the George Smiley novels because I might miss something. Perhaps this is why I feel so lethargic when it comes to mysteries, since they’re nearly inevitably series…