Friday, October 21, 2016
Review of "The Pigeon Tunnel" by John Le Carré - A Memoir
I have long been a fan of the novels of Jean Le Carré. I was thrilled to learn that he had penned this memoir that reveals many of the real world back stories that led to the writing of many of his novels. Not hiding his real name of David John Moore Cornwell, the acclaimed author is quite transparent in revealing aspects of his personal life - during his brief time in the world of espionage and beyond into his long and successful literary career. The final pages of the book are devoted largely to the complex relationship he had with his enigmatic father, a man often in and out of prison for con games and scams.
The fact that this man took a only a handful years of working at a low level within the shadowy world of British espionage and conflated it into a literary career of almost fifty years is an astounding achievement. It is clear from this memoir that hard work in research was wedded to vivid imagination in crafting the dozens of spy novels that have become best sellers. We learn about M15 and M16, the KGB, Yasser Arafat, Sir Alec Guinness as George Smiley, and much more.
This memoir made me appreciate the man behind the pen name, and made me want to re-read many of his best works.