A view of life and commercial real estate from Newark and Licking County, Ohio
Thursday, May 23, 2013
On Cornwell and le Carre..........
David Cornwell did not want to be a writer. As a teacher in the 1950s he dreamt of being an artist, and would paint in his spare time. By 1960, however, as an intelligence officer for MI6 in Bonn, he was writing in frantic hours after work. From then on, he was John le Carré.
Born in Dorset in 1931, he was brought up by non-conformist grandparents and a Micawber-like father who had spells in prison and sent his son to an expensive school. "From a largely working-class background," he once said, "I was being groomed for something more refined." He read languages at Oxford, emerging with a first.
"The Spy Who Came in from the Cold", his first hit, turns 50 this year. Written in the early days of the Berlin wall, it anatomises the horror of the cold war. "We forget the terror too easily," le Carré says. His 22 novels, eight of which feature George Smiley, prevent us from doing so. The master of dialogue as a form of interrogation, he writes with an urgency that distances him from the pack of thriller writers. His next arrives this month; his 2010 novel "Our Kind of Traitor" is being made into a film.