Le Carr

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

By Interview by George Plimpton

Published December 8, 2000 9:00AM (EST)

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."

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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