'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.'The Pigeon Tunnel, John le Carré's memoir and his first work of nonfiction, is a thrilling journey into the worlds of his 'secret sharers' - the men and women who inspired some of his most enthralling novels - and a testament to the author's extraordinary engagement with the last half century. The listener is swept along not just by the chilling winds of the Cold War or by the author's frightening journeys into places of terrible violence but, most importantly, by the author's inimitable voice.
In this astonishing work, we see our world, both public and private, through the eyes of one of this country's greatest writers.
©2016 John le Carré (P)2016 Penguin Books Ltd
The Pigeon Tunnel is one of the most enjoyable (and play-again-able) autobiographies I have read/heard in a long time. I would rank it higher, even, than Forsyth’s.
The name dropping, the casual interaction with men and women of history shows them in a truly human, honest way (with the exception of Thatcher, who, as we all know, was neither--even an author like Le Carre can do very little; had he, it would count as fiction) in which the media and, aptly, the intelligence engineering behind it, works to recast.
Brilliantly read, it is not merely a ‘readers guide to the novels’ but a life that highlights many of the origins of his novels and characters. A fan of the BBC radio dramas (available here on Audible), I have a new desire to persue the many remaining novels.
A comfortable and endearing addition to my library.
William Siddall Member since 2008
More revelations about a fascinating but very private man.
I have read all le Carre's novels, and the recent biography, and it was interesting to discover the origins of many of his stories. Yet, while appearing to reveal that his private life is the basis of many of his books, I still feel that he is a very private person for whom fiction and fact overlap.
Yes, in that it is semi autobiographical, but I still do not think that an author is the best person to read his own books
An increasing curiosity about a favouriter author.
I shall continue to re- read his books, and anything new that he writes.
My affinity with John le Carré characters is now matched by my affinity with David Cornwell and his life reminisces - stitched together by beautiful vocabulary and unfamiliar-familiar wit, tenderness and endearing vulnerability. The barn owl.
Read with LeCarre's gorgeously silken voice and describing in astonishingly frank detail his alter ego and his own life. Profound and lighthearted by turns, the best autobiography I have read ever.
I don't usually read autobiographies, but was intrigued to listen to John Le Carre reading his own. I was impressed by the self-effacing style and by the insight into the author's life and way of writing. My only reservation was the very long chapter dealing with the author's father which, whilst fascinating, seemed a touch over indulgent to me.
Having listened to The Pigeon Tunnel, I am now encouraged to work my way through all of Le Care's books
Most enlightening, but is Le Carre honest? He often refers to his family history of dishonesty and mixes his own experiences with the story lines of his novels. It comes across as a way of promotion, but this does not detract from the enjoyment of this book.
An excellent book read with great aplomb by the author. There are glimpses of the real man, great moment of pure raconteur and scathing stacks on politicians of all flavours. It is his continued struggle with his childhood and the scars it has left that are the most fascinating
Having read many of the books, and seen most of the films made from them, I felt I knew Le Carré's work. And after reading Adam Sisman's recent biography, I felt I knew his life. This book showed me I was wrong, especially hearing the author read it himself. Excellent.
Ever been cajoled, slowly but surely by a novelists' series? Very late and reluctantly, I began listening to the le Carré novels, believing them to be antithetical to many of my closely held beliefs. Well- I am a "colonial," a woman and not trusting of "stories for boys." Not to be so. I loved them all- noting the author's amazing development as an engrossing teller of stories with importance and relevance even if there were flaws which have no place to be aired here.
To then chance on this memoir, spoken by the man himself, was such good fortune.
Here I was, being cajoled all over again with something far, far bigger than a "back story" for all the fiction I had listened to.
Over and over, the specific character from the novel leapt back into 3D in my imagination and again, the mysterious conjunction between writer and reader happened..with even more feeling.
Do read or listen to his books first.
Then listen to this book and be entranced anew.
How complex human beings can really be.
Remarkable, even after Sisman's biography which covers of course many of the same events. As Cornwall explains in his introduction the nuance is everything. Listening to this read by the author not only made me reflect on the obvious autobiographical nature of A perfect spy but also how many of his own unanswered questions were explored in The secret pilgrim. Intellectual and passionate in equal measure, and asking more questions than it answers, just as George Smiley might have reflected after a long and complicated life..
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