Monday 14 December 2020

On the passing of a great ...

Sad news in the world of spy fiction with the passing of David Cornwell, aka John Le Carré, aged 89 after a short illness.

What is there to say about him that hasn't already been said, not just in the last 24-hours in the numerous obituaries published around the globe, but over his sixty-year career.

The spy's spy fiction writer.

A literary giant

A writer who transcended the spy genre.

A chronicler of our age.

He was clearly all these things and much, much more. It is rare to find anyone who enjoys reading spy fiction who has not read some - all - of Le Carré's books, from the most famous ones like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, to lesser-known works such as The Mission Song.

His contribution to the genre is without doubt. 

He was also a contemporary of Len Deighton (who is the older of the two, at 91 years old) as a spy fiction writer, and he, Deighton and Ian Fleming were, certainly in the 'sixties, often regarded as the big triumvirate of spy fiction authors who put the genre on the map and paved the way for many other authors in their wake.

While Len has been in effective retirement for two decades, Le Carré was writing new fiction well into his late eighties.

While readers around the world - and his books were popular in many markets beyond the UK and US - will mourn today, we shouldn't be too sad, because in a full and well-lived life he created unforgettable characters and stories which will remain with us for a long time to come.