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E directly from the page Tom Hiddleston in The Night Manager image from IndiewirecomIn the later life of his books le Carre tells of some of his dealings with directors It is for the most part not a pretty picture More interesting are his encounters with some of the performers in those productions He leaves a trail of dropped names that would be the envy of any writer journalist or paparazzo And tells of how he had freuently been mistaken for someone who knows about spying and is still connected to it many ears after he had parted ways with the secret agencies In the old days it was convenient to bill me as a spy turned writer I was nothing of the kind I am a writer who when I was very Open City young spent a few ineffectual but extremely formativeears in British Intelligence Now as for that guy in the corner the one pretending to read a guidebook the one who has been there for the entirety of the book that would be Ronnie Le Carre did not spring fully formed from the earth an Oxford student educated brilliant well spoken discrete multilingual He came from somewhere The largest part of that somewhere is dad Ronnie was according to his son and sundry houses of detention a con man How having Ronnie for a father affected the author is a major piece of the overall story There are some skills one learns at the feet of a criminal and maybe some talents one inherits Some compensation I suppose for having a parent one cannot rely on a parent one might be mortified to be associated with Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener image from Into FilmYou do not have to have read any of le Carr s novels to appreciate this book It is certainly interesting and entertaining enough on its own But come on really why would Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves you even be thinking of reading this ifou had not read some of his books or at the very least seen at least some of the film or TV presentations of his work It is no secret that le Carr is a master of his craft The Pigeon Tunnel is a huge treat for readers of his fiction It offers bits of origin story both for the books and the characters in them and for le Carr himself You do not have to be a master of deception expert at Moscow rules or an agent of the single double or triple variety to fill in some of the gaps in Heaven hears each whisper your knowledge of LeCarre s oeuvre The intel in this book will certainly be of value to any who have encountered his work A copy has been left forou at a nearby bookstore You know the one You have the experience needed to figure out how to retrieve the package Report back as soon as Eye Sleuths Ghostly Vacations you have secured the parcel and are in a secure locationReview first posted 92316Publication date 9616EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal and FB pages While there is plenty of information at these do not expect to interact with the writer He has passed that task on to his staff the better to concentrate his efforts on writing his next bookA piece by the author for The Guardian John le Carr on The Night Manager on TV they ve totally changed my book but it worksIn caseou missed it in the review his biographer s gripe at the competition John le Carr and I worked for ears on his biography Why is he telling his own story 12 months laterA 2014 David Denby article in The New Yorker WHICH IS THE BEST JOHN LE CARR NOVEL definitely worth a lookGeorge Plimpton interviewed JlC for The Paris Review in 1997 It is deliciousAugust 25 2017 NY Times A fun read Macintyre is also a former spook of a writer Spies Like Us A Conversation With John le Carr and Ben Macintyre by Sarah Lyallaug Although I have read a fair number of JlCs books and seen films for some of the books I have missed I have read and reviewed only one during my ears on GR A Most Wanted ManOctober 11 2019 The Guardian My ties to England have loosened John le Carr on Britain Boris and Brexit by John Banville If Adnan's Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial you re into stuff like thisou can read the full reviewIt strikes me now that everything that happened later in life was the conseuence of that one impulsive adolescent decision to get out of England by the fastest available route and embrace the German muse as a substitute mother In The Pigeon Tunnel Stories from My Life by John Le Carr Schiller s Die Deutsche Muse epitomizes what I call the German Soul taken from my own copy of the Schiller S mmtliche Werke Kein Augustisch Alter bl hteKeines Medic ers G teL chelte der deutschen Kunst Sie ward nicht gepflegt vom RuhmeSie entfaltete die BlumeNicht am Strahl der F rstengunstVon dem gr ten deutschen SohneVon des gro en Friedrich ThroneGing sie schutzlos ungeehrtR hmend darf s der Deutsche sagenH her darf das Herz ihm schlagenSelbst erschuf er sich den WerthDarum steigt in h herm BogenDarum str mt in vollern WogenDeutscher Barden Hochgesang Und in eigner F lle schwellendUnd aus Herzens Tiefe uellendSpottet er der Regeln Zwang More than 30 ears ago I also went into the world of spy fiction It s impossible to forget that It happened in the worst day of my life I was roaming my city Lisbon without rhyme or reason when I found shelter in cinema uarteto one of my favourite movie theatres at the time There was a spy movie cycle on What did I watch A lot of movies based on Le Carr s movies I was hooked *for life I went into the theatre and I was Alex Lamas George Smiley Karla etc for *life I went into the theatre and I was Alex Lamas George Smiley Karla etc for while I went into the obscure jungle of the Cold War with my eyes wide shut It didn t take long for them to open though And they stayed open If ou re into German Language and Literature Genre Fiction going into personal stuff and outstanding literature read the rest of the review elsewhere These stories are pure enjoyment David Cornwell makes up for all those Matrimonio a la Fuerza (Saga Londres, years he refused interviews answering uestions we never got to ask If he doesn t uite bare all within are things we may have felt strongly about at the time but now excite us just for the pleasure of hearing a different voice tell us indeed we may have been right all along The written word is fine but I am going to urge readers to consider the audio of this memoir which is read by the author himself He is uite good at accents and inflection and it is riotous in parts to hear his plummy enunciation explaining moments of real learning when he was sent to Paris as a sixteenear old to pick up a debt for his father or on learning the ways of Hollywood Society S View Of Spies Changes With The Times Society s view of spies changes with the times David Cornwell acknowledges this and along with us is horrified at the waste and destruction many of those pointed in the direction of the interests of state have wrought through arrogance and incompetence What is most appealing about le Carr s writing is that David Cornwell has never stopped being the man that attracted MI 5 and 6 when he was recruited early on in his career He is capable of enormous leaps of understanding and judgment when it comes to it A few of his books will remain in the stacks long lasting as literature because he managed to capture something we acknowledge as real if dark and depressing and somehow enormously sad This le Carr autobiography is arguably even engrossing than his novels because he applies his writing talent and unparalleled observation and pacing skills but he shares the sources of his inspiration highlighting for us where his characters diverge from their real life counterparts Real people in real crises are almost always interesting than their fictional counterparts aren t they Best of all we get cameos of famed leaders and crooks winners losers and those who tried The most affecting bits he saved for the end where he talks about his confected childhood memories including a mother all angles instead of curves whom he met at the age of twenty one and who talked nonstop about Ronnie his father but supplanting the he with ou A family of storytellers then and all of it manifest in a man torn between the truth and it s opposite Cornwell could tell a scam from a mile away which is why he never went public with the tell all offered to him by Nicholas Elliott best friend and colleague of Kim Philby one of the most infamous double agents in British Intelligence history But hearing Cornwell take on the voice of Elliott as he ostensibly spilled the secrets of the still classified debriefing with Philby in Beirut is something ou do not want to miss even if Thunder Voice (Sam Keaton: Legends of Laramie you aren t aware of the significance of that confessionA couple of meetings with Yasser Arafat stand out as does his unrehearsed seventy five minute live interview with French television personality and host Bernard Pivot Cornell speaks so glowingly of what a phenomenon Pivot was on television that I will forever regret not knowing enough French to understand Pivot s wit and sense of style This book gives enormous pleasure whateverour preferred method of consumption The revelations may seem out of date to some but it is actually one of those memoirs that never go out of date Classic I think they call it Considering I ve never read a word of le Carre it might well be thought a surprising choice to read his autobiography But I am well acuainted with his works from 10 Rebelde Rendición (Saga Londres, years in bookselling and from watching the excellently done recent BBC production of The Night Manager Besides stories from someone who was both writer and spywho could resist In not resisting I heard in the Audible version read by the author himself one of the most interesting set of tales one could ever hope to I say tales because as he warns he is well versed in the art of deception of making things up and perhaps the things he says are not uite as they were Memory is a slippery tangled dangerous area of half truths and self manipulation and lies and ignorance F Even though I still have five books to go in Le Carre s back catalogue I decided to read the memoir Andes there are spoilers in it But that is beside the point I was able to read about what parts of his life inspired his stories So while I was reading the memoir I was like this part inspired this and this part inspired that And it gave me a greater insight to Le Carre s shadowy pastNow I am anticipating the rest of his novels even. With two former heads of the KGB watching Alec Guinness prepare for his role as George Smiley in the legendary BBC TV adaptations or describing the female aid worker who inspired the main character in The Constant Gardener le Carré endows each happening with vividness and humor now making us laugh out loud now inviting us to think anew about events and people we believed we understoodBest of all le Carré gives us a glimpse of a writer's journey over than six decades and his own hunt for the human spark that has given so much life and heart to his fictional characte.
Ok was about his father who was uite the con man and certainly sounded like a difficult person to have as Wretched Moments your dad Some other good sections were Cornwell s thoughts on the traitor Kim Philby and on fellow spy turned novelist Graham Greene I ve been on a spy kick lately which coincidentally started with a book about Kim Philby and this memoir was a fun addition I listened to The Pigeon Tunnel on audio read by le Carr himself and I highly recommend his narration He has a charming reading voice and is excellent at different accents In fact I enjoyed this audiobook so much that I was a bit sad when it ended and I struggled for days to find my next one John le Carr is a tough act to followIfou re already a fan of his books Estimating centrifugal compressor performance you ll probably enjoy this memoir Highly recommendedFavorite uotesThese are true stories told from memory to whichou are entitled to ask what is truth and what is memory to a creative writer in what we may delicately call the evening of his life To the lawyer truth is facts unadorned Whether such facts are ever findable is another matter To the creative writer fact is raw material not his taskmaster but his instrument and his job is to make it sing Real truth lies if anywhere not in facts but in nuanceI spend a lot of odd moments these days wondering what my life would have looked like if I hadn t bolted from my public school or if I had bolted in a different direction It strikes me now that everything that happened later in life was the conseuence of that one impulsive adolescent decision to get out of England by the fastest available route and embrace the German muse as a substitute motherIf Falling Under (Walker Security you re ever lucky enough to score an early success as a writer as happened to me with The Spy Who Came in from the Cold for the rest ofour life there s a before the fall and an after the fall You look back at the books ou wrote before the searchlight picked ou out and they read like the books of Lords of the Press your innocence and the books after it inour low moments like the strivings of a man on trial Trying too hard the critics cry I never thought I was trying too hard I reckoned I owed it to my success to get the best out of myself and by and large however good or bad the best was that was what I didI love best the privacy of writing which is why I don t do literary festivals and as much as I can stay away from interviews even if the record doesn t look that way There are times usually at night when I wish I d never given an interview at all First Lifes a Pitch you inventourself then Castle Barebane you get to believeour invention That is not a process that is compatible with self knowledge David Cornwell writing as John le Carr is one of the most celebrated authors of espionage novels This is essentially a memoir and I listened to the audio book which was read by le Carr I understand that there is some controversy about this book Some say that the author has undercut Adam Sisman who had written a biography with le Carr s assistance less than a Mixed Tape Series Volume year previous to this book Some say that le Carr deals with the truth about events in less than a rigorous manner He uses that to dramatic effect in describing himself as a liar Born to lying bred to it trained to it by an industry that lies for a liv I was given this book together with Le Carre s latest novel the long awaited seuel to The Spy Who Came In from the Cold I have been a fan of Le Carre s writing for manyears and the said seuel delivered again But I am in two minds about the author s autobiographical work as I feared before opening it familiarity can engender disappointment if not contempt The book certainly explains the genesis of many of his characters incidents and dilemmas but that much was evident anyway Perhaps what disappointed me most was his account of his visit to the town of Bukava in the DRC I have worked there three times and know the region very well Le Carre travelled there in the company of UN dignitaries and seems not to have ventured outside the privileged bubble in which such people exist Did he interact with any of the mere mortals who live there and whose lives and deaths have filled a tragic chapter of world history over the last 35 ears at least If he had he might have discovered that the Belgian expat he describes provided a truck for the CIA backed Katanga rebellion in the 1960s At least that is what I was told by a local in the town I couldn t help the impression that despite his troubled background or perhaps because of it the author is a snob In short for me at least this book shattered the illusion that the author has so skilfully crafted over the last half century since the days when he was indeed an authority on his subject matter I m a liarborn to lying bred to it trained to it by an industry that lies for a living practiced in it as a novelist As a maker of fictions I invent versions of myself never the real thing if it existsWe all reinvent our pastsbut writers are in a class of their own Even when they know the truth it s never enough for them John le Carr spent several ears as an intelligence officer with both MI6 and MI5 When his third novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold became an international best seller he retired from being a spook to writing about them full time John le Carr Le Carr means The Suare btw is the nom de plume of one David John Moore Cornwell As he began his writing while still in the cloak and dagger biz his employers reuired him to assume an alias for his writing work John Le Carr from CBCAt the time The Pigeon Tunnel was released Le Carr had written 21 books mostly fiction He has subseuently released two novels This is his only memoir He has also dipped into writing short stories and has written three screenplays Ten of his books have been made into films and several into productions for television Le Carr is the best writer of spy fiction of "his time offering not only a look into craft and the mindset of "time offering not only a look into craft and the mindset of in the field but a very adult contemplation of the moral ambiguities that are a part and parcel of spy work Even when Bond villain sorts take the stage they are surrounded by layers of ambiguity in which national interests easily triumph personal morality But even with the odds against them le Carre s characters struggle to do the right thing in a wrong world He started out writing about the Cold War but with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union he looked further afield for conflict areas There was no shortage The book is a sort of memoir If All the Devils are Here you are looking for Le Carr s life story this is certainly not the place to plantour listening devices In fact an actual biography written with the cooperation of the subject was released less than a Miles to Go (The Walk, year prior to this one John le Carr The Biography by Adam Sisman Sisman is rather peeved actually that Le Carr wrote and released his own uncomfortably for him close to the one Sisman had written If this beef interestsou I recommend checking out this item in The Guardian John le Carr and I worked for The Wake years on his biography Why is he telling his own story 12 months later Richard Burton in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold from Britannicacom The Pigeon Tunnel is comprised of about three dozen small tales usually ones that illuminate one or of his books They sometimes read like short stories but the general gist is here s where I got the inspiration for this or that person in this or that book Another thread addresses his relationship with family Sometimes the two threads become entwined There is a fellow who permeates the book and is the source of several of the moving tales Think of him standing in a doorway on a misty evening smoke rising to join the gray air Think of him sitting inour hotel slowly turning the pages on the *international edition of a newspaper whose name ou would know Maybe he is *edition of a newspaper whose name ou would know Maybe he is in a room across the way glassing the street as Daffodil Girls you come and go or in a van listening to the conversation inour room His name is Ronnie and we will leave him to the shadows for now Le Carr makes his excuses in the Introduction These are true stories told from memory to which ou are entitled to ask what is truth and what is memory to a creative writer in what we may delicately call the evening of his life To the lawyer truth is facts unadorned Whether such facts are ever findable is another matter To the creative writer fact is raw material not his taskmaster but his instrument and his job is to make it sing Real truth lies if anywhere not in facts but in nuance So one is free to take these stories with the same shaker of salt ou would use with any world renowned raconteur in a uiet corner of a late night watering hole Alec Guinness as George Smiley from NPRHe writes of his time in the intelligence services first recruited as little than a child Of course he is not allowed to spy and tell so these are mostly stories of when he was assigned as a minder to this or that person or group visiting London They tend to have a comedic or at least ironic cast Sometimes the details exposed are harder edged One thing is certain Le Carre believes in getting on the ground touch and feel for his stories The most fascinating experiences here recall visits to sites he intended to use in a novel where he wanted to flesh out his take on the scenery and seek out real life versions of the characters he already had in mind He was hoping to pick up some telling details of the lives those people led with which to give his characters a bit realism This field work included meetings with people of wildly diverse sorts from real life heroes and heroines to world leaders to gangsters Nobel Prize winners terrorists a fair helping of spies and a parrot in a Lebanese Hotel that has a talent that will make ou howl with laughter He lets drop some of the rather stunning things he has heard and offers up some surprises I have met two former heads of the KGB in my life and I liked them both In one tale he tells of meeting a man who was the very image of a character he had written about in a novel as if the guy had come into corporal existenc. Incisive reading into the events he witnesses the same moral ambiguity with which he imbues his novels Whether he's writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire or the opening bars of Beethoven's Fifth visiting Rwanda's museums of the unburied dead in the aftermath of the genocide celebrating New Year's Eve 1982 with Yasser Arafat and his high command interviewing a German woman terrorist in her desert prison in the Negev listening to the wisdoms of the great physicist dissident and Nobel Prize winner Andrei Sakharov meeting. These are true stories told from memory to which ou are entitled to ask what is truth and what is memory to a creative writer in what we may delicately call the evening of his life To the lawyer truth is facets unadorned Whether such facts are ever findable is another matter To the creative writer fact is raw material not his taskmaster but his instrument and his job is to make it sing Real truth lies if anywhere not in facts but in nuance I ve had many discussions over the Mission New York (Scavenger Hunt Adventure years about the blurred wiggly lines that separate truth from fiction People who only read nonfiction and look down their noses at novels because they are made up don t seem to grasp just how perilous it is to call anything nonfiction Memory is threaded with lies The victors write the histories and without the other perspective the truth is like dough It can be molded flattened and turned into any shape the writer wishes it to be Even with many perspectives the truth morphs and changes as each tells the other what they saw We can make people remember things differently I for one do not trust any of my memories completely I know how good I am at selling myself the best version or even a much worse version of any event Sometimes it is imperative to forget details to blur what happened into palatable memories Fiction is as true as fact The uncertainty of memory plagues every writer trying to assemble the facts of his life In the case of John le Carre that might be even so As we read these vignettes he introduces us to some of the real people he has met who have inspired the characters in his books His father looms large across the pages of his books but like le Carre did in this memoir I m going to boot Ronnie to the end of this review It is almost impossible for a writer not to write himself into books We see versions of David Cornwell John le Carre s real name in his fiction sometimes striding boldly and sometimes much subtly contained to the shadows Each version must be for him like looking in a warped mirror made of words I didn t expect le Carre ever to write an autobiography He is 84ears old so if he had always expected to write one he certainly kicked that can down the road a long ways He has continued to be remarkably productive in his twilight ears When I read his later works I still marvel at his command of his characters and his fascination and interest in telling stories He has not lost the ability to hold me enthralled It would be impossible for John le Carre to write a memoir without addressing his relationship with Graham Greene The Tailor of Panama is an ode to Greene s Our Man in Havana Greene s books were a springboard for le Carre s creativity In this book he tells a story about Greene during the war wanting to use the code word for EUNUCH in a dispatch back to headuarters He was invited to attend a conference and he wrote back Like the eunuch I can t come That is vintage Greene David Cornwell is probably a bit too straight laced to have done something like that but for Greene it was just the thing to keep that smirky grin on his face I found the introduction so inspiring As a guy who dabbles with writing I thought he made several intuitive statements about writing They are all still tumbling around in my head I love writing on the hoof in notebooks on walks in trains and cafes then scurrying home to pick over my booty When I am in Hampstead there is a bench I favour on the Heath tucked under a spreading tree and set apart from its companions and that s where I like to scribble I have only ever written by hand Arrogantly perhaps I prefer to remain with the centuries old tradition of unmechanized writing The lapsed graphic artist in me actually enjoys drawing the words Drawing the words like sketching blueprints for a building or bridge or putting flesh on the bones of characters It feels so hands on like a mechanic up to his elbows in an engine with grease wedged under his fingernails When a writer can bring words closer to himself he can command them and build kingdoms that stretch the imagination to new boundaries What can be discovered in the hallways of an inspired mind with just a 2 pencil and a pad of paperRichard Thomas Archibald Ronnie Cornwell was the father of the author He was a conman He knew the famous Kray Twins and was always chasing after the big score He spent than one jolt in jail each time of course because of a misunderstanding Women loved him and men adored him He was a charmer a dreamer a Lothario and probably one of the strangest most enigmatic fathers a boy could have It was not unusual for David Cornwell to be pulled aside as he travelled from country to country promoting his books or researching the next one and be asked if he happened to know the whereabouts of his father He would get calls asking for bail money from such far flung places as Zurich or Singapore He had to be constantly pulled between loathing and loving his father with a healthy dose of embarrassment wrapped around both emotions When The Spy Who Came in From the Cold hit big Ronnie referred to the book as OUR BOOK and even ordered up a couple of hundred copies to sign and hand out as business cards He of course charged the books to his son s account At 84 Cornwell is still trying to come to terms with his father He would love to know about Ronnie to come to terms with his father He would love to know about Ronnie the sometimes diabolical schemes he tried to create out of air much like a novelist realizing the twist he needs for his plot but the truth as David stated himself lies in the nuances If his father had been someone else I have a sneaking suspicion we might never have had John le Carre I ve read many of John le Carre s book if ou were reporting on human pain ou had a duty to share it John le Carr uoting a dictum of Graham Greene in The Pigeon TunnelFirst a disclosure I was given this book by Viking Books These types of offers I typically refuse I don t like
feeling under obligation to review or even readunder obligation to review or even read book just because it was given to me I might do it for friends but even then I am VERY picky about what I read I have thousands of unread books and thousands of others I that are on my radar to read I usually feel a bit like Melville s Bartleby aroused only to the level of wanting to reply I would prefer not to But this is John le Carr Anyone who knows me knows I VE been pimping John le Carr books for ears My goal is to be a le Carr completest by the end of next Unwilling (The MacLauchlans, year I still haveet to read The Night Manager The Tailor of Panama Absolute Friends Our Game or The Naive and Sentimental Lover but there is a sadness that comes with finishing with having no country left to visit or no book left to read I however own them all Often multiple copies So how could I refuse a free le Carr Also so I wouldn t feel completely like I was writing for free books I also went out to purchase the Audiobook so I could listen to le Carr talk about his own life Surprisingly this is le Carr s first memoir That both feels a bit strange and a bit right First le Carr is a master at timing and also understands when is the proper point to introduce a character and how much to show John le Carr the pen name for David Cornwell is often reluctant to do interviews there is a bit about that in this book and is a bit publicity shy He isn t Pynchon or Salinger for sure but the energy of pimping his stuff and his reluctance sometimes to delve into the narrative of his own life he worked for awhile for both MI 5 and MI 6 and his relationship with his father all seem to be something he is often reluctant to discuss Ironically these two issues feed his fiction heavily His father and his relationship with his father s ghost seems to push through most of his fiction So too obviously does le Carr time as David Cornwell the spy There is a thin unbleached muslin shroud between fact and fiction le Carr talks about his in this book Perhaps le Carr s greatest book A Perfect Spy which Philip Roth es that Philip Fucking Roth once called the best English novel since the War was grown out of David Cornwell s relationship with his own father The memoir itself is filled with anecdotes and loosely goes from past to present but also breaks time s arrow to describe certain relationships with certain people or movies made of his books I loved especially the parts of this book where le *Carr writes about Graham Greene and the craft of writing I knew le Carr got around but after *writes about Graham Greene and the craft of writing I knew le Carr got around but after the memoir I can safely say he belongs with George Orwell Graham Greene William T Vollmann Paul Theroux family of adventure writers whose fiction is informed from the trenches They don t just know where some bodies are actually buried they may have seen the corpse AND the murderSo why only four stars Because I m judging his memoir against his best fiction This is a fun memoir and very good le Carr It just doesn t cast its shadow as long as the Karla trilogy the Perfect Spy etcAgain returning to how this is his first memoir I wonder why now I hope he is not done with fiction I hope this is not him saying I m done He is in his 80s and after he is done I m not sure what to do We have been waiting for 400 ears for another playwright to eual Shakespeare How many centuries will we have to wait for another le Carr Dear GOD I fear way too long This is an absolutely delightful memoir from the great John le Carr The author s real name is David Cornwell and this memoir is a loose collection of stories from his experience including everything from his research trips to Russia to his interactions with Hollywood There are also tales of tense interactions with other spies who are angry about his books and of the awkwardness that has occurred when government officials assume le Carr is a master spy rather than just a bestselling author of spy novels There was a good uote in the book which I couldn t find later so I m paraphrasing that a lot of people assume le Carr was a spy who used his experience to become a novelist rather than someone who always wanted to be a writer who briefly served as a spy One of my favorite chapters in the bo. Out of the secret world I once knew I have tried to make a theatre for the larger worlds we inhabit First comes the imagining then the search for reality Then back to the imagining and to the desk where I'm sitting now From his ears serving in British Intelligence during the Cold War to a career as a writer that took him from war torn Cambodia to Beirut on the cusp of the 1982 Israeli invasion to Russia before and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall le Carré has always written from the heart of modern times In this his first memoir le Carré is as funny as he is.