John Le Carre
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timeline spans from 1963 to 2005
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1963

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1965

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1979

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1986

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2005

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Other Events


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


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


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


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"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."


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


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"When youre my age and you see a story you better go for it pretty quickly. Id just like to get a few more novels under my belt."


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"But I think the real tension lies in the relationship between what you might call the pursuer and his quarry whether its the writer or the spy."


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"During the Cold War we lived in coded times when it wasnt easy and there were shades of grey and ambiguity."


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


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"I dont know whether its age or maturity but I certainly find myself committed more and more to the looser forms of Western democracy at any price."


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"Its part of a writers profession as its part of a spys profession to prey on the community to which hes attached to take away information - often in secret - and to translate that into intelligence for his masters whether its his readership or his spy masters. And I think that both professions are perhaps rather lonely."


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"In every war zone that Ive 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."


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"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."


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


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


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"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."


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"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 its not as if it was happening up and down the street. It made me ashamed I felt dirty."


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"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."


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


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"The Secret Intelligence Service I knew occupied dusky suites of little rooms opposite St Jamess Park Tube station in London."


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"I mean Im in the business of storytelling not message making."


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


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