cover image The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life

The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life

John le Carré. Viking, $30 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2077-5

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. (Sept.)