The Looking Glass War

The Looking Glass War When the Department faded since the war and busy only with bureaucratic battles hears rumour of a missile base near the West German border it seems like the perfect opportunity to regain some politic

  • Title: The Looking Glass War
  • Author: John le Carré
  • ISBN: 9780141196398
  • Page: 348
  • Format: Paperback
  • When the Department faded since the war and busy only with bureaucratic battles hears rumour of a missile base near the West German border, it seems like the perfect opportunity to regain some political standing in the Intelligence market place The Cold War is at its height and the Department is dying for a piece of the action.Swiftly becoming carried away by fear andWhen the Department faded since the war and busy only with bureaucratic battles hears rumour of a missile base near the West German border, it seems like the perfect opportunity to regain some political standing in the Intelligence market place The Cold War is at its height and the Department is dying for a piece of the action.Swiftly becoming carried away by fear and pride, the Department and her officers send deactivated agent Fred Leiser back into East Germany, armed only with some schoolboy training and his memories of the war.In the land of eloquent silence that is Communist East Germany, Leiser s fate becomes inseparable from the Department s.

    One thought on “The Looking Glass War”

    1. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was praised for its harsh realism, but le Carre believed it was not harsh or realistic enough. On the contrary, he considered it unrealistic and romantic, what with its nearly omniscient intelligence agency, the agency's extraordinarily complex yet flawless plan, and the novel's melodramatic conclusion: the death of star-crossed lovers at the foot of the Berlin Wall.For this next book, le Carre chose to abstain from grand dramatic gestures and instead describe t [...]

    2. Have you ever wanted to be a spy? I didn’t – not until I started reading John Le Carré’s George Smiley series this year. I do remember when us four siblings played “spy” along with other games all over the acres of our farm and buildings, but I was a bit of a failure back then. I wanted to have everyone get along. I wanted to be the good guy who brought all the other ‘fighters’ (yes, I have an older brother) together in peace and harmony. So in the end, I became a double-spy. Grea [...]

    3. I cannot recall the exact age I was when I read this minimalist piece perfectly executed by the talented le Carré, but whatever is was—and around 15 years old sounds about right—it served as effective an eye-opener to reality as a set of clamps fixed upon what were previously orbs dreaming away behind sealed lids. At that time, my fictional intake was comprised of a not inconsiderable proportion of espionage thrillers—the sprawling series by Ian Fleming and Robert Ludlum primarily, but sp [...]

    4. Do you know what love is? I'll tell you: it is whatever you can still betray. If there is something like a literary model of a spy most of us would probably indicate on James Bond. Fast cars, beautiful women, shootings and all that false glamour. And after hard working day - martini shaken not stirred or conversely. Obviously. But not in LeCarre’s world. Disillusioned, tired and cynical men in the world where goal is indistinct, praise doubtful, morality ambiguous and victory deceptive. This i [...]

    5. While the "Smiley" trilogy is rightly feted as one of the greatest Fiction trilogies of the 20th Century, this Novel is my personal favourite of Le Carre's formidable and rather intimidating catalogue. Strictly meant for lovers of serious Fiction,this is easily the bleakest book that I have ever read in my life. I remember taking a shower at midnight after I was done with it to "cleanse" myself. A hard, bitter,relentlessly cynical and disturbingly realistic peek at the sordid workings of an Espi [...]

    6. For me a difficult book to rate, on one hand I enjoyed it although I came to have a marked contempt for some of the major characters. I felt the novel was a study in human nature and trying to hold on to the glory of past exploits. A clandestine world made up of an old boys club who are happy to throw the lamb to the wolves .l in the name of glory, I found this to be a bleak and quite dour story, not for the faint of heart. Well written as you would expect but I thought that is was more characte [...]

    7. There is a valuable lesson in this book: when an author uses a novel’s introduction to suggest it may be his worst, believe him. Of the four books I’ve written by John le Carré, The Looking Glass War is clearly the worst. le Carré seems to have issues carrying his stories when the plot is not singularly focused, when he is trying to make a negative point about some aspect of British culture. We saw this when le Carré tackled the prep school system in A Murder of Quality, and this time the [...]

    8. Compared with its predecessor 'The Spy Who Came In from the Cold', 'The Looking Glass War' (George Smiley #4) was a relative flop, especially in Britain. In John le Carré's introduction, written in 1991, he addresses this After the success of 'The Spy Who Came In from the Cold' I felt I had earned the right to experiment with the more fragile possibilities of the spy story than those I had explored till now. For the truth was, that the realities of spying as I had known them on the ground had b [...]

    9. Phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal. Le Carre at the height of his powers. The Looking Glass War begins twenty years after the end of World War II, telling the tale of an imagined rivalry between the shrunken, decayed remains of military intelligence, and Smiley's legendary Circus, the political wing of British Intelligence.The book begins with a botched operation; an agent dies. These men are no longer operational, they are playing at a game that has passed them by in terms of manpower, technolog [...]

    10. Man, this is one depressing book. As the author states in the intro, this book is a cynical look at the intelligence/spy world and is almost a parody of LeCarre's first big hit, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.With subtle (and a few not so subtle) hints of the ridiculous attempts by past-their prime and out of touch military intelligence officers to recover their relavancy and stage one last mission, the book is a slowly building tragedy. You know it is not going to end well nearly from the st [...]

    11. I am reading le Carre's Smiley books in order. I finished THE LOOKING GLASS WAR yesterday. It is brilliant. My plan, and I reserve the right to change it, is to read all of the books and review them as a group when I have finished.As for LOOKING GLASS, it came as a surprise. It is a comedy. A blistering and dark send up of the incompetence and dysfunction within the British military intelligence community which, in the 1960s, was dominated by aging and obsolete hold-overs from WWII. le Carre had [...]

    12. Spies like Us without the humour.John le Carré followed up the success of The Spy who came in from the Cold with a different take on the spying game - The Looking Glass War. Le Carré turned everything on its head by showing us the bumbling fools of The Department - an old boys club of war veterans who think they can revitalise their careers with a dash of espionage. It was not well received.For me the story could have made a great caper, if John le Carré had the comedy writing chops. But he p [...]

    13. While the "Smiley" trilogy is rightly feted as one of the greatest Fiction trilogies of the 20th Century, this Novel is my personal favourite of Le Carre's formidable and rather intimidating catalogue.Strictly meant for lovers of serious Fiction,this is easily the bleakest book that I have ever read in my life. I remember taking a shower at midnight after I was done with it to "cleanse" myself. A hard, bitter,relentlessly cynical and disturbingly realistic peek at the sordid workings of an Espio [...]

    14. Book four in the George Smiley series by John Le Carre. This is a difficult book for me to rate. The end result is a brilliant condemnation of bureaucrats and their willingness to put their rules ahead of people. However, to get to that end result, we are forced to read over 250 pages of bureaucracy - and that is as enjoyable as a day wasted at the DMV. In this case British military intelligence - staffed by a bunch of surviving WWII intelligence officers (remember this is set in 1963) decide to [...]

    15. No rating, didn't finish. Didn't enjoy reading this, put me to sleep at times. And I do like Mr. le Carre, i really do. Just not this book.I should also add I won this book through the giveaway program. Thank you, !

    16. he was witnessing an insane relay race in which each contestant ran faster and longer than the last, arriving nowhere but at his own destruction.For some reason I keep thinking of le Carre as a writer of thrillers, and it's true that his recent crop of novels definitely follow a kind of thriller model, but his earlier novels, like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and A Perfect Spy, are really high tragedies that use some of the reversals of the conventional spy thriller to ease the delivery of [...]

    17. As always, le Carre’s writing is elegant, fluid, and measured, however I did not particularly enjoy this novel. Although George Smiley’s presence hovers over the narrative, he rarely manifests himself. For the most part, the reader follows the exploits of the Department men, whose glory days ended with the Second World War. Twenty years later, they have been sidelined by the Circus and jump at the chance to introduce an agent into East Germany. The narrative follows the genesis of this missi [...]

    18. The Looking Glass War was published shortly after perhaps Le Carre's most famous work The Spy Who Came In from the Cold and is every bit as murky, grim and depressing as the aforementioned (possibly even more so). The book starts brilliantly in a Finish airport where a British agent (Taylor) anticaptes the arrival of a pilot who, having undertaken a risky flyover, should have some vital information in his possession. From the moment the uneasily dialogue with the aiport barman begins you know th [...]

    19. Admittedly, a weakest of John LeCarre's I've read so far. A splint group of MI5 decides to send a war time intelligence officer to East Germany to follow up on some signs of Russian presence in a small town. They choose a polish refugee of german extraction. Most of the book involves his training and politics around the organisation. At the end he crosses the border and kills the border guard on his way. Pretty quickly is tracked down by German intelligence. At the end we learn that the British [...]

    20. 'Stop!' Avery shouted suddenly. 'Stop, for God's sake! If anything matters, if anything is real, we've got to hear him now! For the sake of''Well?' Haldane inquired with a sneer.'Love. Yes, love! Not yours, Haldane, mine. Smiley's right! You made me do it for you, made me love him! It wasn't in you anymore! I brought him to you, I kept him in your house, made him dance to the music of your bloody war! I piped for him, but there's no breath in me now. He's Peter Pan's last victim, Haldane, the la [...]

    21. I know I read this years and years ago, but I didn't remember anything about it. In his introduction to a newish trade paper release, Le Carre says that he wrote this to offset the romanticized view people developed about the spy trade from The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (a view he neither meant nor expected). I can understand how readers turned Alec Leamas into a tragic hero and the story into a romance, but I can also see how that wasn't the author's intention. So with this book Le Carre al [...]

    22. The Department is a zombie agency within the British intelligence community. The paychecks still go out, everyone still comes to work on time, clubs are attended, but nothing has happened for years. The Department's function (military intelligence) and operations (deploying spies to discover military secrets held by the Cold War enemy) have been taken over by the sprawling Circus, currently the favorite of Washington the ultimate source of money and equipment. They are an incompetent crew, resen [...]

    23. Really good. Feeling silly for reading the Smiley series so out of order, but the books are excellent in themselves. 4 stars.

    24. Brilliant. I practically read this in one sitting and found it unputdownable. The shabby air of faded glory from the men who won the war that in this story are incapable of making the right decisions. My favourite scene is of course when Smiley makes his appearance briefing the ill-equipped Avery with gently ambiguous double-speak. This novel is indeed very under-rated but in our Brexit times gives you a glimpse of what they (and now we) are dealing with - the men who used to run the empire.

    25. A branch of the British secret service investigates an apparent missile system in 1960s Germany.The plot is involved and the infighting between different departments will ring true with anyone who has ever worked in an office. The writing overall was good but in a couple of places it was a bit clunky.

    26. An excellent 1960s spy novel from master of the genre John le Carre. This is the follow-up to his classic the Spy Who Came in from the Cold, and is every bit as good.Le Carre is the anti-Ian Fleming. His espionage novels are very short on spectacular action sequences and long on bureaucratic infighting and organizational incompetence. I see that classifies this book as part of the George Smiley series, and perhaps it technically is. However, like SWCIFTC, Smiley appears only briefly in the book [...]

    27. LeCarre excels at bringing the human condition into his work, and nowhere is it more evident than in these pages. An wartime bureaucratic agency is gradually dwindling away until it is provided with information that the Russians are arming missiles on the East German border. Without resources to track down the intelligence, the agency relies upon a former spy behind the Iron Curtain to act as their agent. They constantly have to llie to him so that he will not discover how close to defunct the a [...]

    28. A minor le Carré on par with a A Murder of Quality and Call for the Dead, the Looking Glass War explores the pathetic ineptitude, personal and professional betrayals, and the amoral universe of a former military espionage department that has seen better days. With nuance le Carré dissects a dying animal. At times it felt like a strange combination of Philip Roth (see The Dying Animal) meets Robert Littell (see The Sisters). By the end the reader feels betrayed, humanity feels soiled, and nothi [...]

    29. This was the third of Le Carré's novels set around the espionage services of the '60's (though the fourth to feature Smiley), and it will doubtless suffer from comparisons with its direct predecessor, 'The Spy Who Came In From The Cold'. I think this is a shame, as it's a very accomplished book in its own right.The story, of a crumbling department desperately trying to recapture past glories, is shot through with a chilling nihilism, and the sad tale spirals to its denouement with all the grim [...]

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