John le Carré: The Biography

Adam Sisman (Bloomsbury, 2015), 652 pp., endnotes, bibliography, photos, index. Reviewed by Hayden Peake The word “literature,” when not referring to the enduring quality of the narrative, denotes the books, writings, and media presentations devoted to a particular subject. In the case of espionage, the literature is of singular importance since, for most, knowledge of the subject is acquired vicariously through reading or viewing stories. Serious espionage literature leaves the reader feeling the story is closer to reality than fantasy. John le Carré is a master of this genre, and Adam Sisman’s biography of David Cornwell, le Carré’s creator,...

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