Le Carré Uncovered?

Let me tell you a few things about myself. Not much, but enough.... I never knew my mother till I was twenty-one. I act like a gent but I am wonderfully badly born. My father was a confidence trickster and a jailbird.… I hate the telephone. I can't type.... I live on a Cornish cliff and hate cities. I don't see many people. I write and walk and swim and drink. Apart from spying, I have in my time sold bath-towels, got divorced, washed elephants, run away from school, decimated a flock of Welsh sheep with a twenty-five-pound shell because I was too stupid to understand the gunnery officer's instructions…

--John le Carré (David Cornwell), born on this day in 1931; famously reclusive and reticent about his personal life, le Carré says that his just-published A Delicate Truth "comes closer to my skin than any of my more recent novels."

Daybook is contributed by Steve King, who teaches in the English Department of Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. His literary daybook began as a radio series syndicated nationally in Canada. He can be found online at todayinliterature.com.

 

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.