We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
If you haven't seen it, it's the best miniseries ever made for TV. One sample:
Percy Alleline: Merlin is the fruit of a long cultivation by certain people in the Circus. People who are bound to me as I am to them. People who are not at all entertained by the failure rate about this place. There's been too much blown, too much lost, too much wasted. Too many scandals. I've said so many times, but I might as well have talked to the wind for all the heed he paid me. Control: "He" means me, George. Percy Alleline: The ordinary principles of tradecraft and security have gone to the wall in this service. It's all "divide and rule," stimulated from the top. Control: Me again. Percy Alleline: We're losing our livelihood. Our self-respect. We've had enough. We've had a bellyful, in fact. [Alleline exits] Control: And like everybody who's ever had enough, he wants more!
The sequel, "Smiley's People" is about as good and has wonderful scenery in Switzerland. The woman who plays the Russian emigre in this series is the same actress who plays Eleanor of Aquitaine in Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood." Curd Jurgens plays the general. Another feast for Smiley fans.
Yes, Texan, that seems to be the pattern with many authors and musicians: new and fresh and early works a bit rough around the edges but have the energy; middle period getting refined, chops together; plateau period, just cranking them out with formula that works; then - past it. Boring, predictable, and some authors, actors and musicians, so forth, all of a sudden think they have to "take a stand", have to "make a difference".
Most of 'em shoulda quit while they were ahead. Maybe there's a "Peter Principle" for entertainers. Nothing so embarrassing as seeing Smokey or the Stones or whoever totter out on stage and try to be nineteen again.
I have a dog, she's gettin' old, can't hardly stand up anymore. That is painful and you know what I'm gonna have to do. Sigh.
Agree with many of the other commenters about Le Carré. I think "Tinker Tailor," "Smiley's People," and "The Little Drummer Girl" are his finest and most compelling works. As great as the two BBC mini-series were it was still hard to capture the narrative power of Le Carré's writing in portraying Smiley's inner and outer dialogs as he pursued the mole Gerald, and Karla himself in the two novels. The most powerful passages are the scenes of Smiley drawing out Connie Sachs' memories, and in TTSP Smiley's dialogs with the key (indirect) witnesses to Prideaux/Hajek's betrayal and shooting in Czechoslovakia, and finally Prideaux himself.
"Little Drummer Girl" was also a brilliant piece of writing let down badly by the movie.
"The Looking Glass War," and "A Perfect Spy" were also fine novels, IMO.