call for the dead

Detail of the first edition cover of 'Call for the Dead' (le Carré 1961)

[…] academic excursions into the mystery of human behaviour, disciplined by the practical application of his own deductions. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 1)
    This part of him was bloodless and inhuman—Smiley in this role was the international mercenary of his trade, amoral and without motive beyond that of personal gratification. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 1)
    By the strength of his intellect, he forced himself to observe humanity with clinical objectivity, and because he was neither immortal nor infallible he hated and feared the falseness of life. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 1)
    For four years he had played the part, travelling back and forth between Switzerland, Germany and Sweden. He had never guessed it was possible to be frightened for so long. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 1)
    The warmth was contraband, smuggled from his bed and hoarded against the wet January night. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 2)
    A slight, fierce woman in her fifties with hair cut very short and dyed to the colour of nicotine. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 3)
    ‘My body and I must put up with one another twenty hours a day. […]‘ (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 4)
    And back to the unreality of containing a human tragedy in a three-page report. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 4)
    […] he would spend the afternoon pursuing Olearius across the Russian continent on his Hansa voyage. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 5)
    He wanted to explain why it was impossible to understand nineteenth-century Europe without a working knowledge of the naturalistic sciences, […]. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 6)
    He hated the bed as a drowning man hates the sea. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 8)
    He used to say that the greatest mistake man ever made was to distinguish between the mind and the body: an order does not exist if it is not obeyed. He used to quote Kleist a great deal: ‘if all eyes were made of green glass, and if all that seems white was really green, who would be the wiser?’ Something like that. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 11)
    Smiley hugged his greatcoat round him […]. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 11)
    Mundt had proceeded with the inflexibility of a trained mercenary—efficient, purposeful, narrow. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 14)
    Oriental dance, where the tiny gestures of hand and foot animate a motionless body. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 15)
    He was one of those world-builders who seem to do nothing but destroy […]. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 16)

LE CARRÉ, JOHN [aka CORNWELL, DAVID JOHN MOORE]. 1961. Call for the dead. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd.



, ,




4 responses to “call for the dead”

  1. Bryan Alexander Avatar

    Beautiful. Nicely spotted.

    1. zephyrin_xirdal Avatar

      Great that you do like my excerpts. There will be a lot more coming from the other novels where Smiley appears.

  2. klandestino Avatar

    I was sitting in the cinema this evening, ready to watch The Ideas of March, which btw is an amazing movie imho, with a great acting Ryan Gosling, and then the trailer of the forthcoming film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was shown..and I don’t know..I was surprised and on the other hand I wasn’t…
    Somehow the time is ripe for a good old cold war movie! There’s something in the air…demanding a cold war scenery, spies, good old trenchcoats, cigarettes… I’m sure you know what I mean…and let me tell you something else: The cristmas gift for my dad was a book called…now guess! ;) Exactly. Kinda funny.

    1. zephyrin_xirdal Avatar

      Oh yes, I exactly do get your drift. That’s why I wrote that I am looking very much forward to see Gary Oldman as George Smiley. You gave your father ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ as a present? It’s a terrific, wonderful novel, imho. Read it some months ago, my excerpts will follow. And here we have yet another connection :-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.