'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.
Not an autobiography, rather a series of anecdotes and very little revealed about the man himself, other than, perhaps as a distorted reflection of his extraordinary father. He reads it beautifully, though, a lovely voice which I could listen to for many an hour
Enjoyable read through stories from the authors life in its different guises - Intelligence, Author - and how life inspired fiction. And where it didn’t.
Written as a series of short - and not so short - chapters capturing a particular period or aspect of his life. This format worked quite well for me, and was easier to digest in small chunks.
The audiobook is read by the author. In this case it works as it sound like he is telling the listener about the particular episode in his life, and with his voice adds emphasis to the personal nature of the story.
Yes - each sitting is like having tea with the most fascinating uncle in the world.
The author's recruitment to the Service and recollection of infamous events within it.
He is understandably skilled in engaging people and mesmerising them with language. A supremely precise performance with some great impressions and characterisation.
The truth of his fiction shown through his experiences. I think a fan of his works would not be disappointed.
This is my fist experience of John le Carré's books and I loved it. A fascinating glimpse into an extraordinary life. It's left me hungry for more of his story telling.
Some astonishing revelations
None to compare
Laugh at times,but nothing in the secret services surprises me
A must of read,or a listen.
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.
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
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.
"Best audiobook of the Year"
Fantastic story, beautifully read by the author himself. Very entertaining and I laughed out loud in many places.
The honesty of David Cornwall, his insight into both himself, his family and his colleagues and acquaintances. His descriptions of his larger-than-life father are hilarious.
His voice is strong, Can imitate voices authenically and beautifully
An Author Reminisces
Loved it, loved it, loved it.
"Thank you John le Carre"
Having read and enjoyed so many of le Carre's books, hearing this, in his own voice, was a grand treat.
The book is delivered in segments not strictly chronological, peppered with personal anecdotes and descriptions, observations of events and places. This is not a fireside chat and in it's own way does shed light albeit a passing ray of light, on some very influential people and major world events of the time. In its own way this book traces the background of le Carre's books and what has influenced the focus of his writing.
The wonderful description of his mission to Paris as his father's envoy at age 16 is just one glimpse into 'another world'.
It is the kind of book I could dip into again and again. However the advantage of hearing the author reading it to me as an audio book far outways the convenience of bookmarks in a hard copy.
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