Not a review of…
The Honourable Schoolboy
by John le Carré
It’s a spy novel. I know that phrase conjures images of fist fights and gun fights and car chases. Brilliant, right? Nothing nicer than the escapism rewarded by a good old romp in the unrealistic paths of fictional espionage. I like me a good spell of excitement as much as the next guy.
I am carefully choosing the spot where I am writing this, because I would really like the next guy to respond to the idea of the James Bond, exciting spy flick with the sentiment, “That just sounds so…busy. And what did they get at the end there? I’m not sure I followed all that…was the doomsday device ever turned on? What exactly happened?”
See, I want the next guy to say that, because that’s sometimes how I feel. When I feel like that, I turn to le Carré, a writer who truly understands the panic of the end of term research project. John le Carré, a writer who knows how to provide an alternate brand of entertainment in an age when most entertainers are so paranoid about losing their audience that they’ll add fire and scantily clad pretty people for no discernible reason. The inestimable John le Carré, who recognizes that sometimes an audience doesn’t need things explained to them to get it. The point of a story is feeling swept along, and sometimes that means having all the details all the time, and sometimes that means sharing in an experience with a character who does not have all the details but trusts that someone else does, and so he trusts that all will become clear in time, so the reader can trust that too.
And le Carré just seems to be enjoying himself. The prose, man! It is the prose of a person in love with words. It glistens.
My copy has this note at the end of it, which pleases me more than I can describe…
This pleases the deepest part of my nerd side.