Sunday, 14 May 2017

"The Pigeon Tunnel" by John le Carre

Year of Publication:  2016
Number of Pages:  342 pages
Genre:  Non-fiction, autobiography

In a career that has lasted 55 years, ex-spy turned novelist David Cornwell (who writes under the pseudonym John le Carre) has become one of the greatest living authors.   Initially writing intelligent Cold War thrillers such as The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1963) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1974), le Carre has come to use the structure of the espionage thriller to explore human psychology and explore the political and moral climate of modern geopolitics.  This book is not really an autobiography, but it is likely as close to one as we are ever likely to get.  It collects reminiscences and anecdotes of events and people in le Carre's life, that have helped shape his remarkable career.  We are presented with a cast of actors, spies, directors, politicians, journalists, crooks, prisoners and fellow authors.  Beautifully written, and full of interesting stories, by turns funny and dark, and sometime both, particularly in one of the book's best stories where le Carre writes about his complex relationship with his con-man father.  This is a book to treasure.

"I'm a liar... Born to lying, bred to it, trained to it by an industry that lies for a living, practiced in it as a novelist.  As an maker of fictions, I invent versions of myself, never the real thing, if it exists."
- John le Carre, The Pigeon Tunnel    

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