John le Carre - Quotes

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It's part of a writer's profession, as it's part of a spy's profession, to prey on the community to which he's attached, to take away information - often in secret - and to translate that into intelligence for his masters, whether it's his readership or his spy masters. And I think that both professions are perhaps rather lonely.

It's part of a writer's profession, as it's part of a spy's profession, to prey on the community to which he's attached, to take away information - often in secret - and to translate that into intelligence for his masters, whether it's his readership or his spy masters. And I think that both professions are perhaps rather lonely.

Until we have a better relationship between private performance and the public truth, as was demonstrated with Watergate, we as the public are absolutely right to remain suspicious, contemptuous even, of the secrecy and the misinformation which is the digest of our news. ---->>>

Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love. ---->>>

I suffer from the same frustration that every decent American suffers from. That is, that you begin to wonder whether decent liberal instincts, decent humanitarian instincts, can actually penetrate the right-wing voice, get through the steering of American opinion by the mass media. ---->>>

A spy, like a writer, lives outside the mainstream population. He steals his experience through bribes and reconstructs it. ---->>>

A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world. ---->>>

Once you've lived the inside-out world of espionage, you never shed it. It's a mentality, a double standard of existence. ---->>>

Most people like to read about intrigue and spies. I hope to provide a metaphor for the average reader's daily life. Most of us live in a slightly conspiratorial relationship with our employer and perhaps with our marriage. ---->>>

I wrote 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold' at the age of 30 under intense, unshared personal stress and in extreme privacy. As an intelligence officer in the guise of a junior diplomat at the British Embassy in Bonn, I was a secret to my colleagues, and much of the time to myself.

I wrote 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold' at the age of 30 under intense, unshared personal stress and in extreme privacy. As an intelligence officer in the guise of a junior diplomat at the British Embassy in Bonn, I was a secret to my colleagues, and much of the time to myself.

My definition of a decent society is one that first of all takes care of its losers, and protects its weak. ---->>>

History keeps her secrets longer than most of us. But she has one secret that I will reveal to you tonight in the greatest confidence. Sometimes there are no winners at all. And sometimes nobody needs to lose. ---->>>

The monsters of our childhood do not fade away, neither are they ever wholly monstrous. But neither, in my experience, do we ever reach a plane of detachment regarding our parents, however wise and old we may become. To pretend otherwise is to cheat. ---->>>

Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes. ---->>>

A committee is an animal with four back legs. ---->>>

During the Cold War, we lived in coded times when it wasn't easy and there were shades of grey and ambiguity. ---->>>

Writing is like walking in a deserted street. Out of the dust in the street you make a mud pie. ---->>>

The longing we have to communicate cleanly and directly with people is always obstructed by qualifications and often with concern about how our messages will be received. ---->>>

I don't know whether it's age or maturity, but I certainly find myself committed more and more to the looser forms of Western democracy at any price. ---->>>

In the last 15 or 20 years, I've watched the British press simply go to hell. There seems to be no limit, no depths to which the tabloids won't sink. I don't know who these people are but they're little pigs. ---->>>

I am still making order out of chaos by reinvention. ---->>>

I'm really a library man, or second-hand book man. ---->>>

I was quite able at the insignificant work I did in MI6, but absolutely dysfunctional in my domestic life. I had no experience of fatherhood. I had no example of marital bliss or the family unit. ---->>>

In every war zone that I've been in, there has been a reality and then there has been the public perception of why the war was being fought. In every crisis, the issues have been far more complex than the public has been allowed to know. ---->>>

I began writing when I was still in the British Foreign Service, and it was then understood that even if you wrote about butterfly collecting, you used another name. ---->>>

I grew up in a completely bookless household. It was my father's boast that he had never read a book from end to end. I don't remember any of his ladies being bookish. So I was entirely dependent on my schoolteachers for my early reading with the exception of 'The Wind in the Willows,' which a stepmother read to me when I was in hospital. ---->>>

In my day, MI6 - which I called the Circus in the books - stank of wartime nostalgia. People were defined by secret cachet: one man did something absolutely extraordinary in Norway; another was the darling of the French Resistance. We didn't even show passes to go in and out of the building. ---->>>

The creation of George Smiley, the retired spy recalled to hunt for just such a high-ranking mole in 'Tinker, Tailor,' was extremely personal. I borrowed elements of people I admired and invested them in this mythical character. I'm such a fluent, specious person now, but I was an extremely awkward fellow in those days. ---->>>

When you are brought up as a frozen child, you go on freezing. It wasn't until I had my four sons, who have brought me immense joy, that I began to thaw. That I realised how utterly extraordinary my childhood was. ---->>>

You have no idea how humiliating it was, as a boy, to suddenly have all your clothes, your toys, snatched by the bailiff. I mean we were a middle-class family, it's not as if it was happening up and down the street. It made me ashamed, I felt dirty. ---->>>

It is my writing dilemma. The world of spying is my genre. My struggle is to demystify, to de-romanticise the spook world, but at the same time harness it as a good story. ---->>>

We have learned in recent years to translate almost all of political life in terms of conspiracy. And the spy novel, as never before, really, has come into its own. ---->>>

But I think the real tension lies in the relationship between what you might call the pursuer and his quarry, whether it's the writer or the spy. ---->>>

Americans believe that if you know something, you should do something about it. ---->>>

Every writer knows he is spurious; every fiction writer would rather be credible than authentic. ---->>>

More particularly, having a largely German-oriented education has made me very responsive to 19th-century German literature. ---->>>

America has entered one of its periods of historic madness, but this is the worst I can remember. ---->>>

For better or worse, I've been involved in the description of political conflict. ---->>>

I mean, I'm in the business of storytelling, not message making. ---->>>

The Secret Intelligence Service I knew occupied dusky suites of little rooms opposite St James's Park Tube station in London. ---->>>

I don't think it is given to any of us to be impertinent to great religions with impunity. ---->>>

I grew up in a completely bookless household. It was my father's boast that he had never read a book from end to end. ---->>>

I think bankers will always get away with whatever they can get away with. ---->>>

I've always had difficulties with female characters. ---->>>

The Cold War was over long before it was officially declared dead. ---->>>

The world of spying is my genre. My struggle is to demystify, to de-romanticise the spook world, but at the same time harness it as a good story. ---->>>

Totalitarian states killed with impunity and no one was held accountable. That didn't happen in the West. ---->>>

You should have died when I killed you. ---->>>

I don't think that there are very many good writers who don't live without a sense of tension. If they haven't got one immediately available to them, then they usually manage to manufacture it in their private lives. ---->>>

If you're growing up in a chaotic world without reason, your instinct is to become a performer and control the circumstances around you. You lead from weakness into strength; you have an undefended back. ---->>>

I remain terrified of the capacity of the media, the capacity of spin doctors, here and abroad, particularly the United States media, to perpetuate false lies, perpetuate lies. ---->>>

I want to be like Ford Madox Ford. I want to be talking to somebody across a fire, and I want him to join me and listen to me, and if he is fidgeting in his chair, I know I am not doing my job. I am a storyteller, and I know most people like a story. ---->>>

I made a series of wrong decisions about moderately recent books, and I've sold the rights to studios for ridiculous amounts of money and the films have never been made. That's the saddest thing of all, because they're locked up and no one else can make them. ---->>>

I made an awful mess of my first marriage. It was hard to live with me being me. I was so abnormal. I mean, most writers struggle. I hadn't struggled. I couldn't suddenly go down to the PEN Club and behave like a normal human being, because most of those guys were struggling to make a couple of thousand pounds a year. ---->>>

I taught principally German language and literature at Eton. But any master with private pupils must be prepared to teach anything they ask for. That can be as diverse as the early paintings of Salvador Dali or how bumblebees manage to fly. ---->>>

I think, increasingly, despite what we are being told is an ever more open world of communication, there is a terrible alienation in the ordinary man between what he is being told and what he secretly believes. ---->>>

In the '60s - and right up to the present day - the identity of a member of the British Secret Services was and is, quite rightly, a state secret. To divulge it is a crime. The Services may choose to leak a name when it pleases them. ---->>>

It's necessary to understand what real intelligence work is. It will never cease. It's absolutely essential that we have it. At its best, it is simply the left arm of healthy governmental curiosity. It brings to a strong government what it needs to know. It's the collection of information, a journalistic job, if you will, but done in secret. ---->>>

Like every novelist, I fantasise about film. Novelists are not equipped to make a movie, in my opinion. They make their own movie when they write: they're casting, they're dressing the scene, they're working out where the energy of the scene is coming from, and they're also relying tremendously on the creative imagination of the reader. ---->>>

Remember Graham Green's dictum that childhood is the bank balance of the writer? I think that all writers feel alienated. Most of us go back to an alienated childhood in some way or another. I know that I do. ---->>>

SIS, the Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, also has no executive powers and operates abroad on CIA lines, but with a tiny percentage of the budget and a tiny percentage of the personnel. ---->>>

The merit of 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold,' then - or its offence, depending where you stood - was not that it was authentic, but that it was credible. ---->>>

'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold' was the work of a wayward imagination brought to the end of its tether by political disgust and personal confusion. ---->>>

When I was 16 or 17, anyone could have had me if they sang the right song and recruited me in the right way. Which is why I've always had a sneaking understanding for people who took the wrong route. That doesn't mean to say I took it or even contemplated it myself. ---->>>

I think that where I've watched a movie go wrong, it's usually because the dread committee has been interfering with it. ---->>>

I write and walk and swim and drink. ---->>>

When you're my age and you see a story, you better go for it pretty quickly. I'd just like to get a few more novels under my belt. ---->>>

Writers are two-home men - they want a place outside and a place within. ---->>>

But there is a big difference in working for the West and working for a totalitarian state. ---->>>

By the age of 9 or 10, I knew that I had to cut my own cloth and make my own way. ---->>>

Completing a book, it's a little like having a baby. ---->>>

Fools, most linguists. Damn all to say in one language, so they learn another and say damn all in that. ---->>>

I happen to write by hand. I don't even type. ---->>>

I worked for MI6 in the Sixties, during the great witch-hunts, when the shared paranoia of the Cold War gripped the services. ---->>>

I've had nothing to do with the intelligence world since I left it, in any shade or variety. ---->>>

If there is one eternal truth of politics, it is that there are always a dozen good reasons for doing nothing. ---->>>

Thank heaven, though, one of the few mistakes I haven't made is to talk about the unwritten book. ---->>>

There are some subjects that can only be tackled in fiction. ---->>>

To give the best of the day to your work is most important. ---->>>

I think I'm in the same mood as ever, but in some ways more mature. I guess you could say that, at 65, when you've seen the world shape up as I have, there are only two things you can do: laugh or kill yourself. ---->>>

Novelists are not equipped to make a movie, in my opinion. They make their own movie when they write: they're casting, they're dressing the scene, they're working out where the energy of the scene is coming from and they're also relying tremendously on the creative imagination of the reader.

Novelists are not equipped to make a movie, in my opinion. They make their own movie when they write: they're casting, they're dressing the scene, they're working out where the energy of the scene is coming from and they're also relying tremendously on the creative imagination of the reader.

I do believe very much in movie as a one-man-show. I think that where I've watched movie go wrong, it's usually because the dread committee has been interfering with it. ---->>>

I don't know the literary world; I was scared of being confronted with famous names, not knowing what they had written. It was occupied territory I was entering. ---->>>

If I had to put a name to it, I would wish that all my books were entertainments. I think the first thing you've got to do is grab the reader by the ear, and make him sit down and listen. Make him laugh, make him feel. We all want to be entertained at a very high level. ---->>>

People who've had very unhappy childhoods are pretty good at inventing themselves. If nobody invents you for yourself, nothing is left but to invent yourself for others. ---->>>

There was an ITV television production of the second novel I wrote, called 'Murder of Quality.' It was a little murder story set in a public school - I'd once taught at Eton, and I used that stuff. ---->>>

We lie to one another every day, in the sweetest way, often unconsciously. We dress ourselves and compose ourselves in order to present ourselves to one another. ---->>>

Well, certainly I don't think that there are very many good writers who don't live without a sense of tension. If they haven't got one immediately available to them, then they usually manage to manufacture it in their private lives. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: English
Born: 10-19, 1931
Birthplace:
Die:
Occupation: Writer
Website:

David John Moore Cornwell, alias John le Carré , (born 19 October 1931) is a British author of espionage novels. During the 1950s and the 1960s, he worked for both the Security Service and the Secret Intelligence Service, and began writing novels under his pen name. His third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), became an international best-seller, and remains one of his best-known works. Following the success of this novel, he left MI6 to become a full-time author. Le Carré established himself as a writer of espionage fiction. In 2008, The Times ranked him 22nd on its list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". In 2011, he won the Goethe Medal, a yearly prize given by the Goethe Institute.(wikipedia)