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The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life by…

The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life

by John Le Carré

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Parts of this memoir are fascinating, while other parts drag. I think it would be different if I knew more history of British espionage. It is abundantly clear that John Lecarre has led an absolutely fascinating life! ( )
  hemlokgang | Oct 18, 2017 |
The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life by John Le Carré is just as the title suggests, stories. They appear chronologically. Some have to do with his personal life and some to do with his books. He began as a spy but he said he was a writer before he was a spy. The stories are haphazard but interesting nonetheless. If you are interested in Le Carre I recommend this book. He also has a new George Smiley book just published that may interest you as well. ( )
  SigmundFraud | Oct 14, 2017 |
As fun as a memoir can be. Jumping all over the place. Little time is spent on his childhood, except to state at regular intervals how ridiculous it, and his father, was. The chapters on Richard Burton and Le Carre's father are worth the price of admission alone. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Sep 10, 2017 |
This book is both an interesting memoir of the world as it was and a prescient observation of the world that is. Like many memoirs, it's not entirely cohesive and has some meandering chapters, especially toward the end. ( )
  bibliovermis | Aug 24, 2017 |
John Le Carre is in my personal pantheon of great novelists. 'The Pigeon Tunnel', a collection of autobiographical stories describing his background, writing methods, wide circle of friends and acquaintances, and adventures in building his novels, was a pleasure to experience for a fan like me.

The writing in The Pigeon Tunnel is great, a little 'breezier' than his novels but that's to be expected. It's first rate. The stories are the draw. Not only was his pre-writing career fascinating, but the wide range of people he's interacted with over his life and the funny, exciting, and dangerous actions he writes about are incredible. He ought to make a book out of some of them.... wait, he did!

What surprised me the most was the care LeCarre takes in crafting his stories, the education he undertakes to understand the countries, people, politics, and situations he writes about. I'm not a writer so I'm not sure how prevalent some of his techniques are among authors, but I was blown away by how meticulous and unique his approach is to his work.

LeCarre (which is just a pen name, by the way) seems to be the self-deprecating sort so I think he'd consider this book a trifle among the greats he's authored, but it was a joy for me to experience. If you're a fan, I highly recommend it. ( )
  gmmartz | Apr 27, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0735220778, Hardcover)

"Out of the secret world I once knew, I have tried to make a theatre for the larger worlds we inhabit. First comes the imagining, then the search for reality. Then back to the imagining, and to the desk where I'm sitting now." 
     From his years serving in British Intelligence during the Cold War, to a career as a writer that took him from war-torn Cambodia to Beirut on the cusp of the 1982 Israeli invasion to Russia before and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, le Carré has always written from the heart of modern times. In this, his first memoir, le Carré is as funny as he is incisive, reading into the events he witnesses the same moral ambiguity with which he imbues his novels. Whether he's writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire or the opening bars of Beethoven’s Fifth, visiting Rwanda’s museums of the unburied dead in the aftermath of the genocide, celebrating New Year’s Eve 1982 with Yasser Arafat and his high command, interviewing a German woman terrorist in her desert prison in the Negev, listening to the wisdoms of the great physicist, dissident, and Nobel Prize winner Andrei Sakharov, meeting with two former heads of the KGB, watching Alec Guinness prepare for his role as George Smiley in the legendary BBC TV adaptations, or describing the female aid worker who inspired the main character in The Constant Gardener, le Carré endows each happening with vividness and humor, now making us laugh out loud, now inviting us to think anew about events and people we believed we understood.
     Best of all, le Carré gives us a glimpse of a writer’s journey over more than six decades, and his own hunt for the human spark that has given so much life and heart to his fictional characters.

(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 16 Jul 2016 16:57:22 -0400)

The author shares personal anecdotes from his life, discussing subjects ranging from his Cold War-era service in British intelligence to his work as a writer in Russia before and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

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