At a particular point in my youth, I tried to understand various durations of time by thinking back in history. That point was between about 1955 and 1965. I would think about the Civil War a century before, or fifty years back to before the First World War. I still do it to put perspective into the movement of history.
The Second World War had ended only ten to twenty years earlier. Because that was before my memories began, it seemed like a long time. Now ten to twenty years goes back only to the financial crash, or to 9/11. The end of the Soviet Union, a definitional event in my life, now extends back 30 years. In my earlier calibration, that would be before the Great Depression, which had made a permanent imprint on my parents, which they strove to pass on to their kids.
John le Carré’s acceptance speech for the Olof Palme prize caused me to think about that time perspective again.
The film “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold” was in theaters in 1964. I was in graduate school. My husband and I went to see it. Europe had barely recovered from the Second World War, so the gritty look was totally believable, as was the spying. We had been through a decade of arms race, revelation of the spies of the Manhattan Project, the Berlin airlift, the Berlin Wall. Another war, this one with nuclear weapons added in, was easy to imagine.
Here’s a rereading of “Spy” from someone who first read it in 1980. In terms of my time calibrations, that person is thinking of events as far back as before the Second World War; difficult to imagine, in a past with little personal reference.
I don’t read much fiction any more, but le Carré is one of the few I still can read. I’m not fond of spy movies, but I can watch his.
In 1964, I was very naïve. I had put most of my effort into science and education, but both my husband and I were coming to the time when we would have to get jobs. Through my school years, I had read warnings of conformity in books like “The Organization Man.” I had been subjected to much pressure to conform, often from school personnel who wanted me to be properly feminine and subordinate. I was not always kind to my teachers, although I kept it within disciplinary bounds.
So I could identify with Alec Lemas: in a structured setting, with little control over his assignment. The betrayals I had experienced were less devastating, but real to a naïve young woman. The final scene of the movie will be with me the rest of my life.
That’s almost sixty years ago now. From my young calibration, well before the Russian Revolution or the World Wars. In the actual time since the movie, we’ve had nuclear weapons with some attempts at their control, continuing less-than-world-wars including Vietnam, two in Iraq, and the Republic of Congo. But no wars directly between major powers. We’ve had 9/11 and an entanglement in the Middle East that doesn’t stop. North Korea developing nuclear weapons. And the end of the Soviet Union.
And that last scene remains with me.
I suspect that much of the story can be understood by people who were born long after, although much will be missed. But literature is like that and why masterpieces can be read again and again.
There’s a lot more in le Carré’s acceptance speech, including an anguished commentary on Brexit. Read it.
Link to speech doesn’t work. Youtube video of speech is here:
I just saw that Sestak endorsed Klobuchar. I guess that means he dropped out after walking across Arkansas for some reason. I’m a little hurt he didn’t send me an email
Oof. I love le Carre, and that speech is a punch to the gut.
ETA: Only the first link in Cheryl’s post works. Here it is again.
John le Carré on Brexit: ‘It’s breaking my heart’
This week the novelist received the Olof Palme prize for achievement in the spirit of the assassinated Swedish statesman. He reflects on how a lack of leadership today has allowed us to ‘sleepwalk’ into Brexit
@MattF: Fixed it. Thanks for the video.
I started work at Argonne National Laboratory in 1967 (just out of college). I remember that I had to sign a loyalty oath, which I had mixed feelings about but signed because I wanted the job. But I remember thinking how dumb it was, because a spy or communist would have no compunction about signing it.
I also remember one of my co-workers who was living with his girlfriend. Everyone knew it, including his family, but the government balked at giving him a low-level security clearance because they said he could be blackmailed. How can you blackmail someone for something that isn’t a secret? Everything about that era smacked of security theater, not a genuine attempt to keep the country safe.
I remember Stephen King giving an interview a few years ago when his book “11/22/63” came out. He said that he had had the idea for the book in 1972, but that it had only been nine years since the assassination and was probably too soon to write it. That’s what hit me–just nine years? I was ten years old in 1963; I was starting my second year of college in 1972, and by then the Kennedy assassination seemed like ancient history.
Nine years ago we were in Obama’s first term and it seems so close.
There are several authors I will pick up and read again just because I need to lose myself, almost like picking up the phone to have a chat with an old friend, except most of my friends don’t have time for long pointless chats anymore. Le Carre is definitely one of those authors.
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold is a difficult book to read all the way to the end. Apparently MI6 or MI5, whichever one it is, really hated it.
If you liked the movie Tinker, Tailer, etc., do yourself a favor and read the book. It’s so much more layered.
I still think A Perfect Spy is the best Le Carre, maybe because it is autobiographical. The character modeled on his father is simply unforgettable.
What timing! We watched The Spy Who… last weekend. What bleakness and yet, he made a choice, one choice. Now I want to watch all of Soldier, Sailor.. (Masterpiece version) though I can’t for the first time anymore.
Palme Foundation in Sweden is the canonical link. It includes a link to the Guardian for the text.
And speaking of the tracking the passage of time, my dad was born in 1920, and he had an uncle who had served in the Civil War. My dad as a boy spent time talking to his uncle, so I think of myself as being at only one remove from that war. Since my dad knew his grandchildren, they are also at only one remove— they know someone who knew a Civil War soldier. Makes you think.
My perspective of history has changed greatly now that I’ve cleared fifty.
My grandmother lived to 103. Twenty of her lifetimes and you go back over 2,000 years, you know, ancient history! Just 20?!! I’ve got fingers and toes for that many. History now seems short, eventful, and unstable – I don’t want to take civilization for granted anymore. I’m not a paranoid, the-end-is-coming type – I just think we should appreciate what we have and be more careful with it and caring about it.
I hope I edited all my errors. Sorry. Just back from doc and Rx. Now my younger granddaughter has type A influenza and ear infection. I was at urgent care Wednesday and am being blitzed with meds. Son is down with influenza A, DIL is blitzed with worst week ever for deadlines. Plus the .2 dusting of snow has morphed into 3 inches. So more shoveling for husband who is barely over his cough (I did half an hour early before the wind kicked up). Plus I really hoped that Warren would do better on Monday. Blah on the week.
(One hates children to be sick, but man, the sweet cuddles…)
@Cheryl Rofer: Your perspective is similar to mine. I grew up in the post-wwII era, and I read everything I could about the war and the holocaust. The horrors of the death camps impressed on me the importance of good leadership, meaning leaders that refused to appeal to prejudice and ethnic hatred. Living in the Trump era is agonizing in so many ways. It can happen again and it can happen here and it is happening here and I feel so helpless.
For therapy, I am pledging to help do what I can to turn our district blue. We have a good candidate, and we should be able to get her elected.
@BigJimSlade: I think it was MomSense who wrote about the sense of panic that her children felt, and believe me, I feel something similar but I would call it dread, not panic. Anywho, one thing you can do when this feeling rises up is to read a long history of the Civil Rights Movement. Or a long history of Jim Crow and the treatment of African Americans after the Civil War. If, after events like the Tulsa Riots and (let’s call it what it was) Massacre, they could keep fighting then so can we. That’s one reason why I try to avoid sites and writers that focus on the endless outrage loop that has been the last 3 plus years. I don’t need to validate my feelings of disgust and dismay at what is happening.
From what I can see, the Bernie forces have been going WHOLE HOG to try and invalidate her, paint her as some kind of neoliberal corporate monster, and take all the left votes for themselves. I’m seeing this in places where pro-Warren voices can be and are, totally silenced, such as Reddit. And I’m seeing that it didn’t work. She’s basically split the left vote in the place where Bernie most needed to suppress her, and put full effort and the efforts of all his surrogates into doing that.
Looks like it didn’t work.
The humans I know who are intensely Bernie, seem much more willing to count Warren as an ally and be open to supporting her. If it’s someone I know, I’ll pipe up with ‘And Warren! She’s left too, and I always did like her! :) ‘ and I have not seen any pushback on that.
I think it was a pretty good showing considering that Bernie’s made a very serious attempt to have all the Left for himself.
download my app in the app store mistermix
Started reading him as a teenager after watching the BBC’s Tinker/Tailor. Is there any other character who’s gotten better actors to portray him than Smiley? Guinness (absolutely perfect) and Oldman (quite good). Anyway, it’s been a while, I should re-read him. He’s worth it.
I think a now realistic possibility is Warren winning a brokered convention. Why? Because she’s everybody’s second choice. That’s how she got a showing in Iowa. When a candidate didn’t make it, their voters mostly went to Warren. If nobody wins outright, I see a real possibility that Warren will be the candidate everyone but Sanders’ most devoted shit-stirrers will be happy with.
On time: I had breakfast with my dad yesterday. He’s got a bit of a hoarding problem. He explains – with a little self reflection – that he paid money for that stuff; it can’t be discarded. It hit me that he was born in 1930. In his childhood he had the scarcity of the depression, WWII, and the immediate post-war years fixed in his soul.
In 2010, I went to my 50th high school reunion.
Someone at the dinner observed that the year we graduated (1960), the Class of 1910 were having their 50th reunion. Kind of freaked me out.
It so happens that my grandmother and great-aunt both graduated from the very same high school in 1910. Sadly, I have no recollection of their attending a class reunion in 1960, although both were alive and well and living in the same town. Maybe they did and I was just too self-absorbed to notice.
One of the things I find very helpful is to compare how long ago events were to historical people compared to how long ago things are to us today. For example, the American Revolution was closer in time to the Glorious Revolution than today is to WWI; it was closer in time to the English Civil War than today is to the American Civil War. Thinking about how much WWI and (especially) the American Civil War still weigh on our consciousness today makes it easier to understand how heavily those events in England weighed on the minds of the Founding Fathers. Similarly, the start of WWII was about as long after the end of WWI as today is after 9/11. Considering just how much more devastating WWI was than 9/11, and it helps you to understand just how much the events of WWI affected the thinking of people dealing with the run-up to WWII.
@Barbara: yeah, I can’t stand the “outrage du jour” either.
And it’s heartbreaking to get dragged backwards. I know it’s two steps forward, one step back, but sometimes it feels like the inverse.
You’re right about patience and the long game. (And this reminds me to say a little prayer for John Lewis and his health, this very minute.)
@Frankensteinbeck: I’m hoping that she can stay in. I want to see what happens on Super Tuesday. Sanders could fade; Bloomberg could do well; Biden could be totally out. Being everyone’s second choice only works if she’s still there.
@Barbara: Another event that worked to establish Jim Crow as the norm was the Wilmington Insurrection, which was a no-foolin’ coup d’etat.
The Karla trilogy remains a favorite, though I’ve also read probably 85% of the rest of LeCarre’s output. I think my (89-year-old) dad may have turned me on to him 45 years ago? And I was binge-watching the first half of season 3 of the Crown yesterday, so this post fits right into where my brain is today.
Chacal Charles Calthrop
Know where the sense of time is going to make a big difference?
We are raising a generation that is watching us squander and destroy a habitable planet while our leaders fight phantom battles against strawmen. To the boomers the culture wars may be still the most important thing, but that’s going to look like imaginary issues next to what’s going to be happening to this world.
I wouldn’t mind seeing Pete Buttigieg take Sanders’ discontented young voters & even grab the nomination. We need a leader who lives now, not someone whose views were solidified in 1979.
@Frankensteinbeck: At the moment it doesn’t look like anyone will have a majority of delegates. It remains to be seen if there’s enough money to keep everyone in the race until the convention.
That’s why I keep bringing Bloombergs name up – he won’t run out of money before the convention.
Dorothy A. Winsor
Col Vindman was escorted out of the WH today. I think of him telling his father that he had nothing to worry about if he testified because this was American. I know he still has a job in the armed forces but still, this is a loss for us.
I had occasion recently to think about how close in time we are to historical events myself. My great grandfather Feehan died about 16 years before I was born at age 106. He had come to the U.S. as a young teenager fleeing the famine in Ireland. When WWI rolled around, he was too old to go. Boggles my mind. Remembering that the world has had worse periods can be a small comfort.
@MattF: Whoa. Never heard of that. And see that it’s the background for what seems to be a good YA novel, Crow.
More heartbreaking history.
It’s funny just how self-sabotaging Stump is. My analogy of Bush/Shrub/Stump is more and more right all the time. Bush was nothing to right home about, perfectly wrong and wishy-washy to boot, and then his worthless kid, and now this fecal fecundity, the devils’ best friend. What a worthless shit-heel. I hope the next democratic president makes Vindman the fucking national security advisor. He, at least, left the White House with his head held high. Unlike that freak-show Bolton.
@Dorothy A. Winsor:
I just saw this. Another sad day for democracy.
ETA: The country and national security does not matter. Only loyalty to Trump matters. I have heard conversations of conservatives who are fine with this sort of thing. They chuckle that Trump gets away with so much. They don’t see the danger to the country, or to themselves, at all.
@Dorothy A. Winsor:
Nauseating. I already nominated Schiff for Profile in Courage. Can you do two?
That thread says you can nominate more than one. Great.
@Wapiti: I will once again tell the story of my friend cleaning out his grandmother’s house after she died, finding a bag labelled “string too short to save”, but of course she had saved it anyway.
@Dorothy A. Winsor: LTC Vindman can walk out with his head high.
He acted with moral courage, History will be kind to him, and I would bet the Army will protect him as much as they can.
@Dorothy A. Winsor: Huge loss. For him, for us, for democracy.
Trump has to go. Yesterday. Barring that…
And sometimes it is the inverse. However it’s a helluva lot less taxing to re-tread a path once it has been blazed.
It’s all going to come out.
I wonder what Mike Bloomberg knows from his reporters that hasn’t yet been reported. I must say, I’m very uncomfortable with a candidate that owns a media outlet, but I can get over it with Fox News out there serving the same role.
Oopsie. #40 was meant to be @Elizabelle.
it dead ends his career. Yes, he still has a job, but his career path is now closed and Trumpists in the Military will exercise their petty vindictiveness on him.
@zhena gogolia: Yeah. List of JFK Library Profile in Courage previous award recipients.
Several years (2008 and previous) had winners in several categories.
Nancy Pelosi was the sole winner in 2019. John Lewis got a lifetime achievement award in 2001.
I think there might be a LOT of winners for standing up to Trump. Why not recently (forcibly) retired Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch too?
@Jay: LTC Vindman is apparently attending a War College program this summer. If he can just hang on to the end of January next year (11 months …)
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
That comparing of major historical events to each other in terms of how far apart they are is cool to think about and not something that is often considered imo. Most people are too wrapped up in the present of their own busy lives to stop and consider it.
History and time is like an unending river. It never stops for anybody or anything and we’re all along for the ride for the short time we’re alive
I’ve always thought it incredibly humbling and somewhat depressing that eventually we’ll all be forgotten. Do you know who your ancestors were 500 years ago? Not just their names, but what they were actually like? Eventually, even famous historical figures like Julius Ceasar will lost to the sands of time
@zhena gogolia: Then nominate Yuvanovitch too. Is there a group Profiles in Courage award – like collectively the people who stood up to the Trumpet and spoke truth to his ridiculous, craven power?
If you haven’t read it yet, go get a copy of the The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and read it all the way through to the end, even if you’re not enjoying it halfway through and are wondering what all the fuss is about.
The final section is as close as a book has ever come to me as a physical punch to the gut, and I mean that as high praise. It’s as relevant today as it was when written and I suspect it will stay relevant for generations to come because we keep making the same damn mistakes over and over.
hells littlest angel
@Barbara:I still think A Perfect Spy is the best Le Carre, maybe because it is autobiographical. The character modeled on his father is simply unforgettable.
When I first read it,I remember assuming the book was autobiographical in just a very general way. Later, when I read a biography of Le Carré, I was shocked at how much of it was closely based on his real life. His father has got to be one of the most fascinating — and somehow relatable — horrible human beings of all time.
If there is something serious going on here, Warren has to make it right.
At this debate, a candidate who said Facebook is in violation of antitrust laws and my administration will break it up would make a lot of news for themselves.
Boris Rasputin (the evil twin)
One friend of mine had a father who was 15 when he was liberated from Auschwitz. Another friend’s father was 12 when he had to pretend to be deaf and an idiot to avoid being swept up in the Volkssturm. How do their grandchildren understand such things?
The men never met. Hard to imagine they’d have much to discuss if they had.
Dorothy A. Winsor
Although I was born in 1966, WWII was probably the formative historical event of my life, because I was the daughter and grand-daughter of refugee. Le Carre was my Dad’s favourite writer, but I don’t think i started reading him until after my Dad died, much too young.
If there is, you can bet she will.
Last year I reread the Karla Trilogy. What a magnificent piece of work.
I first read The Spy… in the late 70s while still in high school. Over the past 40 years I have worked my way through much of JLC’s canon. A true master. I’ve learned so much about humanity (and inhumanity, as well) from his work.
@Dorothy A. Winsor: breaks my heart. Not just removing him from his position, but trying to humiliate him. They are humiliating themselves, but will they ever realize it?
I do the time thing all the time.
I’m in my 50s and my daughters are high school age.
For my 16-year old daughter, the first Gulf War (Desert Storm) is as far away in the distant past (30 years) as World War 2 was for my generation entering high school in the late 1970s (1945 – 1975 = 30 years)
For my daughter, the Vietnam War is as far in the distant past (55 years) as World War I and the Russian Revolution was for my generation.
For my younger daughter Tupac Shakur died a decade before she was born. For me the equivalent would have been Charles Ives or Henri Matisse who both died 10 years before I was born.
Time is relentless.
When we drove up highway 81 in southern Kansas in the 1950’s, I would try to subtract all evidence of humans, influenced by Laura Ingalls Wlder.
I’m the youngest child of the youngest child. My grandfather was born in Russia (now Ukraine) in 1863. One of my uncles, a student in St. Petersburg, participated in the early demonstrations of the Russian Revolution, but, as a Mennonite pacifist, he left when violence was the order of the day. A lot of history witnessed by my family over there. Ukrainians seemed in awe that my father saw Nestor Mahkno (Ukrainian anarchist and hero to many there but a brutal man in Mennonite history). He was a monster in my father’s nightmares.
Dorothy A. Winsor
And going after his brother too.
@WaterGirl: do you do the Enigma puzzle too? That was the quote a couple of days ago.
World War I is still a significant event in England and other European countries, but has almost been forgotten by many here. I am often amazed at the number of younger people who think that the movie Wonder Woman takes place during WW2 because, Germans, and have no knowledge of The Great War at all. For many of these people, there is some vague awareness of the Revolutionary War, but other wars, even Vietnam are ancient history to many of them.
Another pop culture reference. King Tut’s tomb was discovered in 1922 and the film The Mummy was released only 10 years later in 1932. The latest remake is little more than a brand name totally detached from any historical event.
@Dorothy A. Winsor: We knew Trump is a peckerwood.
I hope seeing this puts steel in other government employees’ spines, and not the fear that Trump intends.
That is just petty shit. I hope also it comes back to haunt Trump and his administration sooner rather than later.
I never read these books but absolutely loved the tv miniseries and the recent movie.
When I think about this stuff, I think about music, because of course I do.
When a 15 year old kid today looks back on the stuff from when he was born, it’s…………not so much different from what’s around today. When 15 year old me looked back 15 years, it was BIG BANDS. Glenn Miller. Tommy Dorsey. Not much in common with Cream or Jimi Hendrix.
Shit was moving fast back then.
FYI for any so inclined, tonight’s debate can be watched on ABC or with any ABC or ABC News app, or on the ABC News YouTube channel (here), as well as on Hulu, on Sling, on the Xumo streaming service and also via the Roku channel or through Apple TV.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka):
It’s something that really bothers me about depictions of ancient history in popular culture. Everything tends to get jumbled up into a big bucket of “a long time ago”, so that events that were very far apart in time are portrayed as being contemporaneous. Nobody would accept a story that portrayed, say Martin Luther and George Washington as contemporaries, or Charlemagne and William the Conqueror, but they’ll accept Alexander the Great running into Julius Caesar.
@John Revolta: When a 15 year old looks back they see Obama. Trust me, that’s a bigger punch in the nuts than Glenn Miller to Hendrix. They see a world wondering about this thing called climate change to a world whistling right past it.
The factoid that still blows my mind is that when Herodotus (ca 400 BC) went to view the Pyramids, the Pyramids were older to him than he is to us.
@M31: We are closer in time to T-Rex than T-Rex was to Stegosaurus
T-Rex: Late Cretaceous 65 -70 million years ago
Stegosaurus: Late Jurassic 150-155 million years ago
@Martin: That’s bad all right. But shift my example around a bit, I’m looking back from Nixon to FDR.
BC in Illinois
I’ve been thinking of timing this week as well.
This week I bought and read George Takei’s They Called Us Enemy, about the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. It goes into discussions in the camps, discussions between George (then 5) and his father, through the years. Franklin Roosevelt, Earl Warren, other names. Co-operate or resist? Renounce citizenship, pledge allegiance, enlist in the Army? Not easy questions to answer and to live through.
But what I kept thinking about was a 7th grade classroom report given in 1961 or 1962 by _______________ , a classmate and somebody in the same lunch-table group as I was. He gave the class our first lesson on the internment camps. He was maybe 12 at the time, born in 1949, after the war. I don’t know exactly how the internments had affected his family. I do remember the impact of hearing the story, for the first time, from the only Japanese-American kid in the class. I’ve always thought it took a lot of courage, simply a lot of heart, to give that report. I can still picture it.
Now he’s 70 or 71. We all are. I wonder if he remembers a report of 60 years ago, about events of 75 years ago. Talking to kids about it now , would be like talking to us at Belt Jr. High School about the Spanish American War.
@Wapiti: Interestingly, my dad, born the same year, in poverty, will keep/wear things forever, but also doesn’t attach much worth to things. He knows (and is grateful) that he can replace Stuff.
A rather stunning thing my father said to me is that he was born in Mexico. He didn’t mean it literally, but that the standard of living in the United States when he was born (1941) was comparable to the standard of living in Mexico today. It’s a very interesting way of making the comparison.
Had to dig around to get the exact wording of Richard Boone’s character in Winter Kills:
“They will run you dizzy. They will pile falsehood on top of falsehood until you can’t tell a lie from the truth and you won’t even want to. That’s how the powerful keep their power. Don’t you read the papers?”
I used to think it was only that people who’ve never been threatened or even been told stories or learned any history about how their parents & grandparents et al were threatened by prejudice or dictators or wars, don’t understand these red flags. That people’s ignorance of the danger was because they weren’t educated young with these stories like I was.
But it’s not just ignorance. @AlexandraErin helpfully shortened it as the Shirley Exception. A mental slight of hand, that ignored the horrible campaign messaging, assuming that ~surely~ there’s exceptions to the policies that piece of exposed id was advocating.
These are the people who knew what he was saying, voted for him partly bc of it, yet are surprised by their spouse or in-laws or buddy getting deported. (And yet they still sometimes say they’d vote for him again). They thought they’d be the exception, not the rule.
@download my app in the app store mistermix: Tinker Tailor, yes, but I’d argue that of the Karla trilogy, The Honourable Schoolboy is the best. It definitely subverts the “Smiley is a genius” meme.
@dnfree: No, I don’t. But I think of that quote often when I am wishing for things to be different or chagrined at myself for not having done something I should have done.
@Elizabelle: I imagine it inspires steel in spines or fear, one or the other.
I do think that Trump will push something or somebody too far, and it will all come tumbling down.
[email protected]: How old is your dad, in his 80s or so?
Decluttering, downsizing, deaccessioning, whatever you want to call it, is hard physical work for an oldster. You’re moving stuff!
And that’s before you add in the emotional work of saying goodbye to everything the stuff represents.
My favorite aunt died recently and among her jewelry, my cousin found a box marked with my first name. It contained a silver charm bracelet.
I can only assume I was crazy about it as a child and my aunt always remembered that.
I have no memory of this bracelet, it’s not anything I would wear, but whatever interaction we had about that bracelet, meant a lot to my aunt.
That is the emotional side of putting one’s affairs in order. Multiple that by all the things your dad owns and no wonder he’s leaving it all to you.
J R in WV
Me too, my piano teacher wrote charts for the Harry James big band, played first trombone for him, was with many other great big bands, Les Brown etc, etc. Then he was music director for the Tropicana night club in Manhattan. Then he married a Broadway dance coach and moved back home to raise a family.
But I also loved Cream, Buffalo Springfield, the Dead, etc.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@Jay: What a contrast with Sanders’ reaction to questions about trouble in one of his campaign offices.
Late to this thread, but I wanted to say that you just sent me down a rabbithole about The Constant Gardener. I have a copy read by Le Carre in my audible collection that I just love, and until five minutes ago I thought it was the full version. Turns out it’s heavily abridged — like, my copy is about 6 hours long, and the unabridged version is 17, and read by someone else.
I’ll probably have to get it, tho’ I love Le Carre’s reading voice in the short version. I know it by heart, so I can use it to fall asleep on nights when real life is keeping me up. Nothing like a plummy British voice whispering to me at .75 speed for drifting off …
Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ
I turn the big 5-0 on Monday. I discovered le Carre sometime during college around 1990. I tried other authors in the genre and couldn’t stand their facile analysis of world events. Over the years I have also re-read le Carre’s books and agree they hold up in the classical sense. I think the difference was that he had personal real world experience in spycraft IIRC but also he was great at making characters seem very real, even incidental characters. No wonder they often translated into good movies.
@Barbara: The thread is likely dead, but I would also recommend the BBC miniseries starring Sir Alec Guinness as George Smiley. FWIW, I hated the more recent movie for all it featured some of my favorite actors. I felt they jettisoned the nuance in order to cram the book into a 2 hour movie, and Le Carré is all about the nuance.
Looks like I’m one of, if not the oldest guy on the thread, plus being Johnny Come Lately. Born in ‘37, so before much of the Holocaust had actually revved up. My one memory of WWII events was H.V. Kaltenborn saying something on the radio about “the Red Army.” I was 7 at the time and I asked my mom “What’s the Red Army?” to which she said “Ask your father.”
I was a reader and read “Spy” early on, then saw the film when it came out. I’ve read most of Le Carre’s output. I worked in Moscow seven years (1990s) and managed to get the KGB Post Office’s (yes, they had one) issue of “ Four Soviet Intelligence Officers” postage stamps, one of whom was Kim Philby.
Le Carre is a great writer. He wrote in the idiom in a literate way. He did not resort to cheap tricks which sets him apart from many of the others.
As to our current American politics I support Sanders. I like his ideas and the seriousness with which he is organized. Any candidate that is to be considered will at this stage of the game assert themselves in whatever way possible to defeat the rest of the pack. Politics is blood sport and always has been. In the end, if Warren or “Mayor Pete” or even the biggest Oligarch in the arena gets the nomination I will vote for them. I voted for Clinton four years ago even though I supported Bernie then. The best to you all. Please do vote for the Nominee of the Democratic Party. Not because you really like the Party but because it’s the only way Twitboy can be booted.