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The Pigeon Tunnel

Cover of The Pigeon Tunnel

The Pigeon Tunnel

Stories from My Life
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"Recounted with the storytelling élan of a master raconteur — by turns dramatic and funny, charming, tart and melancholy." -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
The New York Times bestselling memoir from John le Carré, the legendary author of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Spy Who Came in from the Cold; and The Night Manager, now an Emmy-nominated television series starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie. John le Carré's new novel, A Legacy of Spies, will be available from Viking in Fall 2017.

From his years serving in British Intelligence during the Cold War, to a career as a writer that took him from war-torn Cambodia to Beirut on the cusp of the 1982 Israeli invasion to Russia before and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, le Carré has always written from the heart of modern times. In this, his first memoir, le Carré is as funny as he is incisive, reading into the events he witnesses the same moral ambiguity with which he imbues his novels. Whether he's writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire or the opening bars of Beethoven's Fifth; visiting Rwanda's museums of the unburied dead in the aftermath of the genocide; celebrating New Year's Eve 1982 with Yasser Arafat and his high command; interviewing a German woman terrorist in her desert prison in the Negev; listening to the wisdoms of the great physicist, dissident, and Nobel Prize winner Andrei Sakharov; meeting with two former heads of the KGB; watching Alec Guinness prepare for his role as George Smiley in the legendary BBC TV adaptations of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People; or describing the female aid worker who inspired the main character in The Constant Gardener, le Carré endows each happening with vividness and humor, now making us laugh out loud, now inviting us to think anew about events and people we believed we understood.
Best of all, le Carré gives us a glimpse of a writer's journey over more than six decades, and his own hunt for the human spark that has given so much life and heart to his fictional characters.
"Recounted with the storytelling élan of a master raconteur — by turns dramatic and funny, charming, tart and melancholy." -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
The New York Times bestselling memoir from John le Carré, the legendary author of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Spy Who Came in from the Cold; and The Night Manager, now an Emmy-nominated television series starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie. John le Carré's new novel, A Legacy of Spies, will be available from Viking in Fall 2017.

From his years serving in British Intelligence during the Cold War, to a career as a writer that took him from war-torn Cambodia to Beirut on the cusp of the 1982 Israeli invasion to Russia before and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, le Carré has always written from the heart of modern times. In this, his first memoir, le Carré is as funny as he is incisive, reading into the events he witnesses the same moral ambiguity with which he imbues his novels. Whether he's writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire or the opening bars of Beethoven's Fifth; visiting Rwanda's museums of the unburied dead in the aftermath of the genocide; celebrating New Year's Eve 1982 with Yasser Arafat and his high command; interviewing a German woman terrorist in her desert prison in the Negev; listening to the wisdoms of the great physicist, dissident, and Nobel Prize winner Andrei Sakharov; meeting with two former heads of the KGB; watching Alec Guinness prepare for his role as George Smiley in the legendary BBC TV adaptations of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People; or describing the female aid worker who inspired the main character in The Constant Gardener, le Carré endows each happening with vividness and humor, now making us laugh out loud, now inviting us to think anew about events and people we believed we understood.
Best of all, le Carré gives us a glimpse of a writer's journey over more than six decades, and his own hunt for the human spark that has given so much life and heart to his fictional characters.
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 13, 2016
    Always insightful, frequently charming, and sometimes sobering, the memorable tales told by master storyteller le Carré (A Delicate Truth) about his life will surely delight both longtime fans and newcomers. Le Carré’s stories take readers around the world, covering his posting as a young intelligence officer in post-WWII Germany, his time in Gorbachev’s Russia, and research trips for his novels. His witty reminiscences of situations both dangerous and absurd, and his well-delineated portraits of exceptional and quirky figures, bring to life the extraordinary adventures that fed his novels. Those novels deal with the slippery world of espionage, political intrigue, and secret agents—most famously through the exploits of English spymaster George Smiley. (Alec Guinness, who portrayed Smiley memorably on television, figures prominently in le Carré’s memoir as well.) In perhaps the most serious chapter, le Carré talks candidly about his con artist father, Ronnie, and the failings of both father and son. But his self-deprecating humor and wit are never far away, and he proves a most elegant and genial host on this tour of his life and work. Agent: Jonny Geller, Curtis Brown.

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Stories from My Life
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