Spy writer John le Carré’s new novel, A Delicate Truth, hints at personal secrets and is his most autobiographical for years, says Jon Stock.
By Jon Stock
David Cornwell, better known as the spy writer John le Carré, has always enjoyed keeping secrets — the real-life inspiration for spymaster George Smiley, for example, or le Carré’s own role with British Intelligence. Sooner or later he breaks, telling us that Smiley was based on the Rev Vivian Green, his tutor at Lincoln College, Oxford, and that he once worked for MI5 and later MI6, but you can’t help feeling that the information is always extracted under duress.
So it is a pleasant surprise that le Carré has decided to reveal, without the use of electrodes or bright lights, that his much-anticipated 23rd novel is his most autobiographical for years, a book that “comes closer to my skin than any of my more recent novels”.
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