Saturday, 29 October 2016

The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life by John le Carré

"How much our poor beleaguered spies must be wishing that Edward Snowden had done the novel instead."

I have been a fan of espionage charged fiction since I was in primary school. I moved swiftly from James Bond to Jason Bourne with a few other detours in between and yet as I got older I moved into the slightly darker territory of John le Carré. The nom de plume sounding ever so important and rather more intriguing that his real name of  David Cornwall.

 When I saw that he was publishing a memoir, I immediately got on to Book Depository and ordered myself a copy, being naturally interested to see where fiction and reality intersected.
On the one hand the book brings a unique perspective to some historical events and characters, on the other the author still stands firmly behind the classified nature of some of his life and continually reminds the reader of his obligations to retain secrecy. What we get here are snippets and fortunately those snippets or anecdotes are sure to get your attention, with varying levels of success. The personal certainly brings greater resonance, for instance when the author describes real people and instances that have inspired tragic characters within his novels.

There's a sense of cathartic therapy in the author's depiction of his rather dodgy father. Throw in a lunch with Rupert Murdoch, and a number of encounters with a rogues's gallery of literary fans and you might get some sense of what you might be in for here.

4 out of 5 

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