Teaser Tuesdays: The Spy who came in from the cold


I tried to read The Spy Who Came In From The Cold when I was a teenager and quickly dumped it. I was looking for action. It’s not that sort of story. Le Carré’s not that sort of espionage writer.

Instead this book is a complex, slow, unglamorous rendering of life in the espionage world in the post World War 2 era. There are no good guys and no bad guys. And in the end, no happy endings for anybody.

I was quite chilled by this statement made by Control – the Chief of the British Intelligence, and how ruthless he sounded.

I would say that since the war, our methods-ours and those of the opposition-have become much the same. I mean you can’t be less ruthless than the opposition simply because your government’s ‘policy’ is benevolent, can you now?

The spy who came in from the cold – John le Carré

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
  • Pingback: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold – Nishita's Rants and Raves()

  • bermudaonion(Kathy)

    I remember when this was really popular. I need to read it!

  • Karen

    This is certainly more of an atmospheric novel than an action based one. The film reflects that mood also……

    • Nishita

      @disqus_gmoXW9BOB2:disqus I am a huge fan of Richard Burton and I thought I had seen all his movies (even the crappy ones). Apparently not. I need to get this movie and watch it somehow.

  • laura thomas

    I remember this being on a summer reading list from school. Funny how I scoffed at books like this back then and now find them so fascinating.

    My TT from Goofy Newfies

    • Nishita

      @laurathomas61:disqus I like that it’s on a school reading list. I just picked it up somewhere in my mid-teens because the blurb said it was the best spy story ever, or something along those lines. I ended up pretty disappointed, but this time around I really loved it.

  • Laurel-Rain Snow

    I don’t recall ever reading this book, but the themes are very familiar, having lived through the somewhat frightening post-WWII era.

    Thanks for sharing, and here’s mine:

  • sjhigbee

    It’s a very long time since I read this one – or any John le Carré novels for that matter – but having lived through the political period he was describing, I wasn’t at all surprised at how gritted and bloody the struggle was. At the time, Russia was bent on overthrowing the Capitalist west and the US and its allies were wanting to undermine and destroy the Russian communist system… I recall being very impressed at the quiet deadliness of it all. I hope you’re enjoying it. My TT this week is one I’ve been waiting for – https://sjhigbee.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/teaser-tuesday-12th-may-2017/

    • Nishita

      @sjhigbee:disqus I loved this book. It’s so atmospheric. The whole East and West Germany divide seems so heartbreaking. The ending was also so, so sad.

      I’ve heard the black and white movie with Richard Burton is excellent too. I plan to watch it sometime.

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