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Cold War spy novelist John le Carré died at the age of 89

John le Carré, the spy who wrote the novel that defined the Cold War, has died, his publisher said in a statement on Sunday. He was 89 years old.

The cause of death was pneumonia, said Curtis Brown, CEO of the publisher, Johnny Geller, in a statement. Le Carré, whose real name is David Cornwell, has survived nearly 50 years with his wife and four sons.

“Nothing like him will ever be seen again, and his loss will be felt by all book lovers, anyone interested in human condition,” Geller said in a statement. “We have lost a great figure in English literature, great wisdom, kindness, humor, and intelligence. I have lost friends, mentors, and inspiration.”

Le Carré told CBS News Mark Phillips in 1996: “I wrote about the ocean because Joseph Conrad was born in the ocean. I was adopted into the secret world very quickly. I copied Conrad at that request. The secret world was my nature. Element, I I’ve been there for those years, and I understand how it works because he understands the ocean. “

Le Carré’s debut novel, The Call for the Dead, introduced the world to a kind of anti-James Bond, a glasses-wearing, unfortunate but relentless civil servant, George Smiley. Smiley has appeared in nine books by Le Carré. In the third book, it appeared as a side character in the first bestseller “The Spy Who Came Back from the Cold Country” and the last book “The Spy Who Came”.


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Le Carré told Steve Croft “60 minutes” In 2018, “These characters never left me.”

“Strangely, especially Smiley has sometimes become a very conscious companion in my imagination, even if I didn’t write about them,” Le Carré said. “And what I wanted to do at this stage was this closure of Smiley’s story 50 or 60 years later, now asking in the past what we did in the Cold War in the name of freedom. It was worth it. And it was this very pleasant thing that I ended up with and finished my search for George Smiley.

Le Carré refused to put his name in the literary award and refused to accept the Knights. “I was skeptical of the literary world that I didn’t want that praise,” he told Croft. And he said that being the commander of the Order of the British Empire was what he wanted “above all”.

“I don’t want to be someone who is respected by the state, so I have to obey the state in some way,” Le Carré said. “And I don’t want to wear armor.”

Le Carré was five years old when his mother Olive abandoned his family. He and his brother were left under the care of their father, Ronnie, and a scammer. Le Carré said his father had a “great brain” but “if there was a crooked way to do something, he accepted it.”

Le Carré is an excellent student and graduated from Oxford University with a degree in modern language. His career as a spy seemed natural to him.

“When it comes to hiring people for a secret world, recruiters are looking for almost exactly what I had,” Le Carré said. “I wasn’t fixed and I was looking for a facility to take care of myself. There was a little theft. I understood the theft. I understood people’s natural crimes. It was around me. And definitely part of it is in me. When I found that identity, it took root in me. It was exactly the world I knew in the past and gelled. “

He stared at working in Germany for the famous British intelligence agency MI6, pretending to be a young diplomat as the Berlin Wall went up.

He finally started writing novels during his commute and lunch.

“My memory is that I wrote it very quickly, the story,” said Le Carré. “But at first I didn’t know where to go. It just flowed. And I think you took such a break once in your writing life. I really believe. So naturally, so fast I Nothing else has come to

His third book, The Spy Who Came Back from the Cold Country, became his novel and was a literary event in 1963. He wrote in a pseudonym, so only British intelligence knew who the author was. They didn’t want to blow his cover off in Germany. When he finally went out as an author, MI6 gave him permission to leave, allowing him to focus on writing full-time.

John le Carré
John le Carré, a British writer and spy novelist, was seen in March 1965.

Express via Terry Fincher / Getty Images


Le Carré’s novel focused on what he called the “Secret Intelligence Service” or “Circus,” and was the perfect window to the secret life of espionage during the height of the Cold War. The 1974 “Tinker Tailor Soldier, Soldier, Spy” was loosely based on the search for real-life spy Kim Philby, who handed over hundreds of secret documents to the Soviet Union.

However, even with the prolonged Cold War in the 1980s, Le Carré’s writings did not suffer from fatigue. Philip Roth described the 1986 novel “The Perfect Spy” as “the best British novel after the war.”

His runaway success as a novelist was transformed into a movie and television film adaptation, “The Night Manager” became a BBC series, and “The Spy Who Came Back from the Cold Country” became a movie in 1965. .. The actor who played George Smiley includes Rupert. Davis, Alec Guinness, Gary Oldman.

After the end of the Cold War, Le Carré turned his attention to the pharmaceutical industry, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and finally Brexit. He told Mark Phillips “CBS Sunday Morning“In 2019, the Cold War is over, but” it’s the same game, but with different goals and rules. ”

“Well, first of all, I always tried to live my passion for time in my book,” said Le Carré. “And in this case, I felt very deep — I continue to feel very deep — I felt that the British public was being cursed by people with private interests, so I get that feeling. Soapbox, which invests discussions in characters, not just standing, that was my job. “

Cold War spy novelist John le Carré died at the age of 89

Source link Cold War spy novelist John le Carré died at the age of 89

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