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Monday, October 19, 2020

The Spy With A Powerful Pen

 “If I had to put a name to it, I would wish that all my books were entertainments. I think the first thing you've got to do is grab the reader by the ear, and make him sit down and listen. Make him laugh, make him feel. We all want to be entertained at a very high level.” – John le Carre

A one-time spy, Le Carre, whose real name is David John Moore Cornwell, is one of the greatest “espionage” authors of all time, presenting the stylish and thought-provoking writing he says is needed to keep a reader’s attention.   Most of Le Carre's novels are set in the Cold War (1945–91) and feature British MI-6 agents—unheroic political functionaries aware of the moral ambiguity of their work and engaged in psychological more than physical drama.

Born on this date in 1931, Le Carre’s most well-known book is The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, which has been a 50-year best seller and an award-winning movie.

“Like every novelist, I fantasize about film. But, novelists are not equipped to make a movie, in my opinion,” he said. “They make their own movie when they write: they're casting, they're dressing the scene, they're working out where the energy of the scene is coming from, but they're also relying tremendously on the creative imagination of the reader.”

Despite that, he’s had a number of his books made into movies and won many awards collaborating on them as a writer.  Does that make him happy?  Not really, he said.  “Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes.”  Even when he’s not happy about it, his words come out sounding terrific.


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