John le Carre: The Biography by Adam Sisman

bookshelves: autumn-2015, biography, nonfiction, published-2015, radio-4

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from October 15 to 23, 2015

Description: John le Carré is still at the top, more than half a century after The Spy Who Came in from the Cold became a worldwide bestseller. From his bleak childhood – the departure of his mother when he was five was followed by ‘sixteen hugless years’ in the dubious care of his father, a serial-seducer and con-man – through recruitment by both MI5 and MI6, to his emergence as the master of the espionage novel, le Carré has repeatedly quarried his life for his fiction. Millions of readers are hungry to know the truth about him. Written with exclusive access to le Carre himself, to his private archive and to many of the people closest to him, this is a major biography of one of the most important novelists alive today.

1/5: Born David Cornwell, le Carré’s life was in thrall to his remarkable father Ronnie.

2/5: School, then Bern to study, and meeting mysterious Kraemer

3/5: Oxford, then teaching at Eton, employment at MI5 and publication

4/5: Le Carré hits the height of fame, meets Graham Greene, and tackles his most famous book.

5/5: From The Constant Gardener in the 1990’s to the present day, and the
author is still very much at work – “I find it very difficult to read my own stuff, but I look at it with satisfaction..”


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