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Spy Writers On George Smiley

Posted December 08, 2011 to photo album "Spy Writers On George Smiley"

For many, John le Carré’s character George Smiley changed the genre of spy fiction. While apparently unassuming and unglamorous, Smiley is also unpredictable and, as these novelists underline, unforgettable.

George Smiley, a Spy among Spies
Olen Steinhauer on George Smiley
Philip Kerr on George Smiley
William Boyd on George Smiley
William Boyd on George Smiley

William Boyd on George Smiley

Photo by Eamonn McCabe

George Smiley is le Carré's Mr. Pickwick – in the sense that this fictional character seems to have leaped the bounds of the novels he has appeared in and has achieved a life of his own. Smiley is middle-aged, small, portly, bespectacled, a cuckold and a bibliophile –– the very opposite of a James Bond or a Jason Bourne. His extra-literary life has been facilitated by two compelling portrayals of him in adaptations of Tinker, Tailor. The first was by Alec Guinness in the 1979 BBC television series and now, in the new film version, we have Gary Oldman, who commendably resists the temptation to channel Guinness and turns in a performance of mesmerizing, still intensity. "Less is more" was never better exemplified

Bio: William Boyd has written over ten novels, many which have been internationally honored: A Good Man in Africa (Whitbread First Novel Award & Somerset Maugham Award), An Ice Cream War (John Llewellyn Rhys Prize & shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction), Brazzaville Beach (James Tait Black Memorial Prize & McVitie's Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year) and Restless (Costa Book Award, Novel of the Year) –– to name just a few. He’s also written various screenplays and recently adapted his novel Any Human Heart into a miniseries for Channel 4 (UK) and PBS (USA). Learn more at his site: http://www.williamboyd.co.uk/.