Le Carr

The author talks about working in the "secret world" during the Cold War and why he's a total bore.


Interview by George Plimpton
December 8, 2000 2:00PM (UTC)

John Le Carré was born David Cornwell in Poole, Dorsetshire, England in 1931. Le Carré is a spy-novel master; Graham Greene once called his 1963 bestselling book "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" the best spy novel he had ever read. Le Carré actually was a spy in the 1950s, though he denied this in 1993; for a while he considered joining a monastery.

Instead, since 1961, Le Carré has written 17 novels. Among his best are "The Looking Glass War," "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," "The Honorable Schoolboy" and "Smiley's People."

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In this interview with George Plimpton, Le Carré reveals why he changed his name, his time working in the intelligence service during the Cold War and why he's a total bore.

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