The Pigeon Tunnel

The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life

Non-Fiction, Biography & Memoir, Literary Biography & Memoir
Paperback Published on: 04/05/2017
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Bookseller Reviews

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The Pigeon Tunnel
Worth the wait
Le Carre begins his long-awaited autobiography by revealing how he dislikes interviews, signings and events. It's true that Le Carre dislikes the limelight... READ MORE
JW at Camden


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.

One of the greatest spy novelists of all time, John le Carre’s life encompasses the Cold War era, when he served as a British Intelligence Officer, through a career as a writer that spans six decades. It is a journey that has taken him from war-torn Cambodia, to Beirut on the cusp of the 1982 Israeli invasion and Russia before and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, inspiring writing that comes from the cusp of modern times.

The Pigeon Tunnel, le Carre’s first memoir, is an incisive, often funny chronicle of these extraordinary times, written with the same critical eye for the moral ambiguity of human motivation with which his readers will already be familiar.

Le Carre revels as much in the minutiae of barely glimpsed moments as large-scale reportage and is as insightful writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire as he is conjuring memories of visiting Rwanda’s museums of the unburied dead in the aftermath of the genocide. His personal history ranges over events from the incongruous experience of celebrating New Year’s Eve with Yasser Arafat to moments of agonising tension, such as interviewing a German terrorist in her desert prison in the Negev, imbuing every moment with vividness and humour.

Best of all, le Carre gives us a glimpse of a writer's inspiration and the search for the human spark that has given so much life and heart to his fictional characters.

'No other writer has charted - pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers - the public and secret histories of his times' The Guardian

'John le Carre is as recognizable a writer as Dickens or Austen' - The Financial Times

'When I was under house arrest I was helped by the books of John le Carre ...they were a journey into the wider world ...These were the journeys that made me feel that I was not really cut off from the rest of humankind' - Aung San Suu Kyi

  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • ISBN: 9780241976890
  • Number of pages: 352
  • Weight: 326g
  • Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 25 mm

Customer Reviews

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The Pigeon Tunnel
Fascinating life......
Although I am not a fan of his spy novels, my interest in the author’s life was piqued after listening to a Radio 4 programme by Philippe Sands about John ... READ MORE
Lorna Raynes
The Pigeon Tunnel
Riveting Read
A superb collection of autobiographical stories from John Le Carre. Each story is remarkable in its own way and many of them explain in vivid and intriguin... READ MORE
Fraser Lundie