Paul Vidich at Crime Reads:
Schiff commented: “Reading him, we discover that we are all, like his secret agents, dissemblers selling our ‘covers’ to the world. We all have something to hide,” and we all want to align ourselves with a cause or a passion.
Le Carré’s distinction and originality is that he used the conventions of the spy novel for the purposes of social criticism. The British intelligence bureaucracy and the men (and they are largely men) represent the social attitudes and vanities of a certain class of Englishmen. They marry, cheat, divorce, spy and play their games of political and sexual betrayal. Le Carré used espionage as Conrad used the sea and Kipling India, as an exotic world in which to explore the inconvenient truths that exist in a democracy that finds it hard to balance openness with the need to keep secrets.