A penchant for reading other people’s correspondence is one of my few vices. As a John le Carré fan-boy, I was very much looking forward to this collection, and it didn’t disappoint.
Here you will find le Carré (real name: David Cornwell) corresponding with fellow former spies; assuring Sir Alec Guinness he is perfect for the TV role of George Smiley; providing his brother with writing advice (‘You just have to show up in the gym next morning, & behave as if nobody knocked you cold the day before‘); advising Stephen Fry on places to keep a low profile; stipulating his rules of engagement with his new publisher; complaining to his agent about the quality of paper in UK hardback books (a particular bugbear of my own); reminiscing about his wayward father; and banging out novel upon novel. Le Carré comes across very much as a hard-working, likeable character.
A fascinating collection, and a must-read for all my fellow le Carré fan-boys and -girls.