The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life (Paperback)
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The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life (Paperback)

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Paperback 352 Pages / Published: 04/05/2017
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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.

One of the greatest spy novelists of all time, John le Carre’s life encompasses the Cold War era, when he served as a British Intelligence Officer, through a career as a writer that spans six decades. It is a journey that has taken him from war-torn Cambodia, to Beirut on the cusp of the 1982 Israeli invasion and Russia before and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, inspiring writing that comes from the cusp of modern times.

The Pigeon Tunnel, le Carre’s first memoir, is an incisive, often funny chronicle of these extraordinary times, written with the same critical eye for the moral ambiguity of human motivation with which his readers will already be familiar. 

Le Carre revels as much in the minutiae of barely glimpsed moments as large-scale reportage and is as insightful writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire as he is conjuring memories of visiting Rwanda’s museums of the unburied dead in the aftermath of the genocide.  His personal history ranges over events from the incongruous experience of celebrating New Year’s Eve with Yasser Arafat to moments of agonising tension, such as interviewing a German terrorist in her desert prison in the Negev, imbuing every moment with vividness and humour.

Best of all, le Carre gives us a glimpse of a writer's inspiration and the search for the human spark that has given so much life and heart to his fictional characters.

'No other writer has charted - pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers - the public and secret histories of his times' The Guardian

'John le Carre is as recognizable a writer as Dickens or Austen' - The Financial Times

'When I was under house arrest I was helped by the books of John le Carre ...they were a journey into the wider world ...These were the journeys that made me feel that I was not really cut off from the rest of humankind'  - Aung San Suu Kyi

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241976890
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 303 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Fascinating, important, pithy. Anyone interested in le Carre and his significant contribution to the literature of the 20th and 21st centuries will want to read these engaging meanderings through his life and career.He has plenty to say about Kim Philby, the movie business, fellow spooks and Russian defectors, encounters with the great and good, and his intrepid travels to research his novels -- William Boyd * Guardian *
Vintage le Carre ... [he] remains a magician of plot and counter-plot, a master storyteller * Observer *
John le Carre is as recognizable a writer as Dickens or Austen * Financial Times *
When I was under house arrest I was helped by the books of John le Carre ... they were a journey into the wider world ... These were the journeys that made me feel that I was not really cut off from the rest of humankind * Aung San Suu Kyi *
No other writer has charted - pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers - the public and secret histories of his times * Guardian *
A smashing read -- Richard Davenport-Hines * Wall Street Journal *
Offers thrills of recognition as le Carre's archetypes spring to life... The 84-year old novelist discards extended narrative and writes in elegiac fragments with linking harmonies, like the late works of that other German Romantic, Beethoven -- John Gapper * Financial Times *
Exceptionally well-turned and enjoyable -- David Sexton * Evening Standard *
Grippingly written, it is revealing in ways the author never intended it to be * Sunday Telegraph *
Cagey, clever, revealing * Daily Telegraph *
le Carre is a master of the art... fascinatingly readable * The Times *
Frank and fascinating * Daily Express *
The Pigeon Tunnel is a delight... a collection of highly polishes oddments from a life, assembled to entertain and inform...fabulously funny * Radio Times *
A snapshot of a story that is, truly, as extraordinary as any of his fiction * Daily Mail *
For me The Pigeon Tunnel just confirms the enigma... extremely humorous... at no point do I feel that I knew one tiny bit more than he wants me to know -- Susanne Bier, director of The Night Manager
He has written an uproarious, darkly poignant and precious book -- James Naughtie * New Statesman *
A beautiful book. The great glory of it is it comes close to unlocking the central mystery of le Carre -- Tony Parsons
As enthralling as his fiction * Woman and Home *
Le Carre is such a good writer . . . Though urbane and detached, there is rage simmering not far below the surface of both le Carre and his new book. But then, nothing, absolutely nothing, is what it seems * Daily Mail *
A deeply personal and touching account of le Carre's life ... it has undeniable power * Prospect *
Explosive * Daily Mail *
le Carre's The Pigeon Tunnel is exquisite -- Hugh Laurie
I savoured the gravelly, quietly insistent voice of a master storyteller examining his own life -- Michela Wrong * The Spectator *
the entertaining recollections of a raconteur -- Neil McCormick * Telegraph *
Elusive and frank and witty by turns, the spy master gives away just as much of himself as he wants to in The Pigeon Tunnel, tracing the story of his life through his walk-on parts in the history and mythology of the cold war, and the shape-shifting discipline of his imagination -- Tim Adams * Guardian Biographies of the Year *

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“Worth the wait”

Le Carre begins his long-awaited autobiography by revealing how he dislikes interviews, signings and events. It's true that Le Carre dislikes the limelight, but if you saw his interview at the Hay Festival you... More

Paperback edition
3 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 76

“The Spy Who Did Not Come in from the Cold ”

Spy fiction continues to be one of the bestselling genres of literature over a century on from its first true incarnation: The Invasion of 1910 (1906) by William Le Queux. Many pretenders to the crown of undisputed... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 74

“Fascinating life......”

Although I am not a fan of his spy novels, my interest in the author’s life was piqued after listening to a Radio 4 programme by Philippe Sands about John le Carre, a friend and neighbour. I found this book extremely... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 4

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