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Call for the Dead (Penguin Modern Classics)
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am 13. Juli 2005
John le Carre's _Call for the Dead_ is the book that introduced the brooding, conflicted British secret agent, George Smiley. Call for the Dead was first published in 1961. It is one of le Carre's shorter books but it is packed with all the elements that have made le Carre's subsequent Smiley novels so special: the ability to portray exquisitely the external and internal life of his characters; the ability to make the reader feel he/she is walking the dark and dangerous streets of London, Paris, Berlin, and points east; all the while writing a suspenseful novel.
The book begins with a chapter entitled "A Brief History of George Smiley". In one brief chapter we are presented with an almost fully-formed Smiley. In short order Smiley's university career, his discreet introduction into British Intelligence and his years in Germany in the 1930s and the early stages of World War II are set out. So too is his tortured marriage to the breathtakingly beautiful yet famously unfaithful Lady Ann. The first chapter ends as Smiley arrives by taxi to his office at 2:00 a.m.
The plot is straightforward. Agent Samuel Fennan has been found dead, the product of a suicide if one is to believe the signed suicide note found by his widow, Elsa Fennan. Fennan had been interviewed by the service after a typed note denouncing him for being a communist at University was sent in. Although he was assured at the end of the interview that his name would soon be cleared, Fennan's suicide note claims that his life and career were ruined by the investigation. Because Smiley was the agent that conducted the interview, and because of the internal politics of the agency (one of le Carre's specialties), Smiley was chosen to conduct the post-suicide investigation and file a report. It quickly becomes apparent to Smiley that the suicide is not quite as clear cut as it appears.
Smiley is embroiled quickly in intrigue, death, and the world of spy and counter-spy. He is presented with a jig-saw puzzle of characters including Ella Fennan, a German named Dieter (who worked for Smiley in the War), and a shifty London petty criminal. The story races to a conclusion. As with most of le Carre's work the resolution of the story is not what one would call a Hollywood ending.
The value of the book lies as much, if not more, in the introduction of Smiley and other recurring characters such as Mundt, the East German intelligence operative, and Peter Guillam. Call for the Dead is a small book in the sense that it comes in at about150 pages. But it sets the stage for virtually all of the rest of le Carre's body of work starting with the Spy Who Came in from the Cold and through the entire Smiley series. Call for the Dead is a great place to start for someone coming to le Carre for the first time or for anyone wishing to dip their toes into le Carre again. He is one of the few writers of this or any other genre worth going back for seconds, or thirds.
This edition contains a brief but valuable introduction by the marvelous P.D. James.
0Kommentar| 2 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 14. Juli 2007
In diesem Roman werden Smiley und andere wichtige Figuren in Le Carrés späterem Werk erstmals vorgestellt – wie zum Beispiel der ehemalige Polizist Mendel. Außerdem sehen wir hier einige der Probleme und Kritikpunkte, die auch Le Carrés späteres Werk durchziehen werde – Probleme mit politisierenden Verantwortlichen in leitenden Positionen, Smileys Ehefrau, das Amateurhafte des britischen modernen Geheimdiensts in seiner Anfangszeit nach dem 2. Weltkrieg und die fehlende Zusammenarbeit der Dienste untereinander.

Die Sprache Le Carrés ist in diesen Werken um Smiley immer sehr trocken und das Bürokratische der Geheimdienstarbeit wird einem dabei nur allzu deutlich. Dabei lässt er in diesem Erstlingswerk eine Menge des Humors vermissen, der solche Werke wie „Der Schneider von Panama“, „Der Nachtmanager“ und auch „Absolute Freunde“ durchzieht. Hier zeigt sich eine deutliche Entwicklung, wobei aber gerade dieser Roman und „Absolute Freunde“ sehr deutlich die emotionale und professionelle Entwicklung des Autoren und eventuell auch der Geheimdienstarbeit beschreiben, so dass diese beiden Romane auf jeden Fall zusammen zu rezipieren sind, wenn man Le Carrés Gesamtwerk beurteilen möchte.
0Kommentar| Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 21. Januar 2010
Today, John Le Carré is very much a living writer: at the age of 79, all his twenty or more books are still in print and he is still producing more. His success is due to a large extent to a series of spy novels starring an anti-hero, George Smiley(GS), who is short and pudgy, bespectacled, wearing expensive, but badly-cut suits and coats ("His tailor is robbing him!"). He has two loves: Ann, his aristocratic but wayward wife, and neglected German romantic poetry from the 17th and 18th century. The book conveniently starts with a chapter about the history of GS.
This slim volume is Le Carré's debut, written, along with his next two novels, while working for the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Germany, Switzerland, and perhaps elsewhere, in a more mobile mode. It is situated in London around 1960, when the German Democratic Republic `s foothold in GB was not an embassy (no Western country recognized it then), but the East German Steel Mission.
GS is asked to vet a Foreign Office staffer against whom anonymous accusations have been made. The pair spend hours together talking, mostly outdoors in a park, in a good-natured way. The next morning, before dawn, Smiley is called to rush to the diplomat's home. He has shot himself. His suicide note claims that the interview went badly and he cannot live with the pressure anymore...
For older readers the availability of this debut and all other Smiley-books is an opportunity to re-read the saga from start to finish, in the right order. Younger generations will miss lots of gadgets (mobile phones, PCs and laptops, even central heating), but may like Le Carré's lifelong emphasis on human intelligence. Every word in the right place. Great book.
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am 31. Mai 2016
and reminds us of the years of cold war and an Europe divided by silly politics. Let's not return to closed boarders and mistrust between the European countries.
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am 9. August 2014
Vintage Le Carre, what more is there to say. If you enjoy Le Carre's relaxed, cynical and often wise way of observing the world this book is for you.
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am 21. Juli 2016
Traumhafter Text, liest sich sehr gut. Wirklich sehr schön und spannend geschrieben. Würde ich wieder kaufen und kann ich weiterempfehlen.
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am 3. Juni 2014
got there on time in great condition, only problem is I read it too fast, now I have to buy the next one already.
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am 27. Juli 2010
Das erste englische Hörbuch, das mir irgendwann einfach zu langweilig wurde, was sicher daran lag, dass ich nur die Hälfte verstanden habe. Das größerenteils nuschelige british english ist wenigstens beim Autofahren extrem schwer zu verstehen und so richtige Action, die darüber hinwegtröstet hab ich auch im ersten Teil nicht ausmachen können. Schade...
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am 1. Februar 2012
this is an idiotically shortened version for beginner students of English, and was NOT so described... totally worthless for one who cherishes LeCarré use of language :-(((
0Kommentar| Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden

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