Edited by :Tim Cornwell
Audience:General / adult
Dimensions:9.25in x 6.2 x 2.17 in | 2.34 lb
Page Count:752 pages
Illustrations:1-16PP B&W INSERT
MAJOR HOUSE AUTHOR: Regarded as one of the greatest spy novelists of all time, John le Carré is a household name. We have published all of his books and can proudly say that we are one of his only publishers that has been with him from the very beginning. We have sold more than sixty million copies of his work worldwide.
MEDIA EVENT: Each new le Carré book is a major media event. A Legacy of Spies was a #1 New York Times bestseller and well-received and praised across major publications. A Delicate Truth occasioned a glowing New York Times Magazine profile by Dwight Garner, a front-page review in the New York Times Book Review by Olen Steinhauer, and much more. Eleanor Wachtel’s interview with le Carré on CBC’s Writers & Company is one of the show’s most popular episodes, and he counted it as one of the best interviews he’d ever had.
LE CARRÉ LEGACY: It was the author’s wish that his children explore, manage, and extend his literary legacy, express his strongly held convictions in new contexts, and complete and publish unfinished works; and that the Literary Estate become a living entity in its own right for many years to come.
MOVIE TIE-INS: He has had two TV series on AMC in the last couple of years, most recently The Little Drummer Girl, and more television series are currently in production, including an adaptation of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by the team behind the Golden Globe-winning miniseries The Night Manager.
LETTERS TO CANADIANS: Two letters in this collection are addressed to Canadians, including one to Dr. Nancy Olivieri.
The Times’ (UK) “Best Non-Fiction Books for Autumn 2022”
Vogue’s “The 25 Best Books to Read This Fall”
Telegraph’s “Best biographies of 2022”
Times (UK)’s “14 best literary non-fiction books of 2022”
CrimeReads’s “Best Critical Nonfiction/Biography Books of 2022”
Literary Hub’s “17 new books to invigorate your December”
iNews (UK)’s “40 best books to read this autumn”
“John le Carré’s letters show the author at his witty, erudite, and pugilistic best…. [and] offers a fresh look at his brilliance.”
—The New York Times
“A Private Spy is companionable and transporting—a portrait of a writer who cut an intelligent path through the world, and lived on his own painstakingly uncompromising terms.”
“John le Carré poured his wit, fury and heart into these letters…. [they] paint a fascinating, unflinching portrait of the novelist and spy. A brilliant book, le Carré’s final masterpiece.”
—The Telegraph (UK) (5 stars)
“[The letters] are evidence of [le Carré’s] commitment to work. At the same time, they give a revealing picture of his daily life, his interests, tastes, commitment to family and friends.”
“[The letters] flesh out le Carré’s way of working. Indeed, they are evidence of his commitment to his work. [A Private Spy] will appeal to his many admirers. It reveals much about the man. He had a high idea of his own worth, was more capable of great generosity than many and contrived to live his life on his own terms.”
“[E]xtraordinarily interesting…. [Y]ou get to hear his voice very clearly.”
“An enjoyable collection of le Carré’s letters reveals a… warm man who strove to keep his books topical.”
“From enduring friendships to spectacular feuds, the great spy novelist’s letters reveal the many sides of a brilliant but haunted man.”
—The Times (UK)
“[I]t is no surprise to find [Carré’s] letters well-written and entertaining. In them he is by turns affectionate, touchy, encouraging, witty…[and] kind.”
—The Spectator (UK)
“[M]asterpieces of sensitivity and charm. [H]e seldom gives much away, so when he does show flashes of emotion, they have all the more impact.
“[R]evealing, yet delightful.”
“An extraordinary collection. [The letters give a] lasting impression.”
“Le Carré’s letters reveal a man who could at times be ingenuous, even dishonest, with those closest to him…and at other times brutally honest with himself and others…. A rich selection of literary and political correspondences.”
“[S]tep by step and strut by strut, [A Private Spy] build[s] up a picture of a master spirit. It’s full of false steps and flash steps but the overall effect is blindingly impressive.”
—The Sydney Morning Herald
“A Private Spy is a weighty tome that, through le Carré’s lucid correspondence to various important figures in his life gives a truly insightful account of his life and times. …[T]hese letters reveal an extraordinary personal life set against the backdrop of extraordinary times.”
—Gazette & Herald (UK)
“These letters shed light on a complex literary and public figure. An added bonus are le Carré’s illustrations and caricatures, peppered throughout the book.”
—The Canberra Times
“[W]hat [le Carré’s] letters reveal is that he was also one heck of a nice guy (and a funny one, too). These letters to diplomats, spies, politicians, writers, and many more, are as humble as they are entertaining, for a fascinating look at one of the 20th century’s most fascinating figures.”
“What this new, generous selection of Cornwell/le Carré’s correspondence offers is a more unguarded glimpse at the spy-turned-novelist’s concerns—political, literary and personal.”
“[A Private Spy] addresses both intimate and public themes, and in its closing pages offers a hint of future treasures…. I’ve long felt there are few things less worth reading than an unfinished novel. I’ll make an exception for this.”
—Mick Herron, The Washington Post
“A valuable collection of letters…[and] beautifully edited by Tim Cornwell. [They] show how fiction gave him a route into the tangled recesses of his own heart.”
“The engrossing letters in A Private Spy—curated with great affection and care by [Tim] Cornwell, who sadly passed away in May 2022—are not unlike an exquisite bespoke suite crafted by a master.”
“This collection of the author’s letters, assembled by his son, revels in much the same suggestive restraint as his best fiction:…what is left unsaid begins, gradually and surely, to evoke another world. What emerges is…a guarded glimpse a man who was keenly aware of himself and what was needed to carry on with his life’s work. Le Carré remained, to the end, dedicated to his craft and a thoughtful observer of all things human, including himself.”
“[W]hat makes the letters so fascinating is their real-time immediacy, most palpable in the earlier years. Here is a man, not yet renowned as John le Carré, trying to find a way in the world….”
—The Wall Street Journal
“By the end, A Private Spy begins to exude the quality of the finest literature: that sense of having momentarily lived another life…. The massive shadow of le Carré the literary titan drops away, and we are left with David Cornwell, in pieces, yet whole…. [A] deeply affecting collection.”
—The Globe and Mail
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