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John le Carré

A Private Spy
  • A Private Spy

  • A collection of letters from John le Carré, one of the greatest British novelists of our time, and a fabulous letter writer, spanning decades from his childhood to the Cold War to his final years

    John le Carré was one of the greatest novelists of his generation but also had an extraordinary life, from his childhood with a con man father to his inimitable career as a writer. From his involvement in the Cold War, time in Berlin, travels to Vietnam and engagement with world leaders, his experiences were truly remarkable.

    This collection of letters reveals John le Carré - the man, the writer and his world - for the first time and most intimately. Including letters to Stephen Fry and about Mrs Thatcher, and correspondence with Alec Guinness and a ten-year-old aspiring spy, Selected Letters come together with crispness and clarity to illuminate the extraordinary writer. A magnificent and tender portrait for John le Carré's many millions of fans around the world.

John le Carré was born in 1931. For six decades, he wrote novels that came to define our age. The son of a confidence trickster, he spent his childhood between boarding school and the London underworld. At sixteen he found refuge at the university of Bern, then later at Oxford. A spell of teaching at Eton led him to a short career in British Intelligence (MI5&6). He published his debut novel, Call for the Dead, in 1961 while still a secret servant. His third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, secured him a worldwide reputation, which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People. At the end of the Cold War, le Carré widened his scope to explore an international landscape including the arms trade and the War on Terror. His memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel, was published in 2016 and the last George Smiley novel, A Legacy of Spies, appeared in 2017. He died on 12 December 2020. His posthumous novel Silverview was published in 2021.

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