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The Past | The Previous

The Quiet and Adaptions

Originally published at Ben Peek. You can comment here or there.

 

A few weeks ago, maybe a month, I read John le Carre’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy for the first time. I have read other le Carre and liked them, but it had been a while, and we had this in the house, and I had always meant to read it. I’d seen both the movie and the TV series and so I’d always put it off a bit easily under the pretext of knowing it and being too strongly influenced by one or the other. And, truthfully, when I read it, I did hear Alec Guiness as Smiley, and saw his portrayal of the character in the book more than Garry Oldman’s. The latter was excellent, mind you, but I think, in relation to the book, Guiness’ portrayal was more faithful.

Still, I greatly enjoyed the book. The adaptations of it were different enough that there was a lot of interest in looking at the difference between the two. Not all books and films are like that, of course, but when both the film and the book are successful, it’s interesting to see how different both are. In relation to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the film and TV series are, I think, a touch more linear, and they drop the hint of a sexual relationship between Haydon and Prideaux, and perhaps wisely, for it comes across in the book as a way to characterise Haydon as being without morals, and part of a personality make up that allows for him to be a mole. However, the film and series also drop some of the politics, which I found surprisingly, mostly the meditations of the left and right, and their place within the spy networks. As you might surmise, there are no progressives running spy networks. Smiley’s wife, seen only in the final scenes of the mini series out of all three, is also much more effective in the book as well. However, this because of the internal nature of Smiley’s relationship with his absent wife, and not because of any real change of her throughout the text. Interestingly, there is a scene from the book that is dropped in both adaptions – from memory – that gives away the mole early on in the book, making le Carre’s book much more about how to trap the mole, rather than figure out who it is.

Anyhow, it’s interesting to see the differences.

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In other news, I have no real news, because I am working through my edits for Leviathan’s Blood.

***

A few days ago, I was talking about how I worked as a writer, and then again, later, and I thought about how different it is now to how it was when I began.

I mostly like quiet, now. Maybe I can have a bit of music on in the background – lately I have, but all of last year I couldn’t stand it – but it can’t really rise beyond a murmur. When I was young, I’d wear headphones, but it just drags me out, now. Same with the TV. If I leave something on as a murmur, the conversations draw me away and break my concentration. I used to write during the nights, as well, but that was before I began teaching in the nights and evenings, and had to change to the day. The sunlight is a nice change, I have to to tell you. Not that I sit out in it or anything. But it looks good out of a window. I also like to have a window. Why is a window important? I couldn’t tell you.

But the quiet?

I think the quiet is most important now. Until, of course, it isn’t, and I like something different.

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