John le Carré


Recently I bought a few books by John le Carré and then regretted. Guess why?

Hint: His use of language and style


Tom, is one of those books “The Little Drummer Girl”?

I liked that one.

Hi Tom

I know that it can be difficult to describe exactly why you don’t like the way someone writes, but it would be interesting if you were able to pick out a few details. I for one would be interested in seeing what sorts of specifics you pick out.

I will say that “The Little Drummer Girl” had parts that weren’t that easy to follow, at least until I figured out Le Carre’s style. Without getting too specific, in that book the author frequently jumps back and forth in time – without really hinting at it too much.

(I can’t remember the mechanism through which I was able to learn to follow it more easily – he may have italicized the excerpts from the past, or I simply got used to the difference in tone between past & present)

Hi Tom,

I have tried reading Le Carre, I’ve tried watching a serialised version of one of his novels on TV and have given up. It’s quite beyond me.


Has anyone else found his style a little bit similar to Faulkner’s?

In terms, at least, of jumping around chronologically…

Many thanks to all of you.

Hi, Amy, Alan and Tom

I bought Tinker, taior, soldier, spy and read the first 100 pages. I found him very difficult and honestly speaking boring too. He is entirely “unromantic”.

Alan, I would be very much interested to have some light shed on this. Please:



Hi Tom,

Not trying to answer the question for Alan, I can only give you some general background on ‘It’s quite beyond me’. This phrase implies that the speaker has neither access nor interest in a certain concept. So saying that ‘Le Carre is beyond me’ shows Alan’s inability as well as lack of interest to penetrate into Le Carre’s mysterious writing.

If you ask me, Joseph Conrad is beyond me. I had to study him at university, and apart from his ‘Heart of Darkness’ I didn’t like or understand most of his writing. Plus, it was mind-numbingly boring.