The blurred lines of fiction and faction are given full reign in this collection of 38 vignettes from espionage storyteller John le Carre. Building on his own experiences as a young man in the British secret services, his extensive research for his novels involved exposure to exotic locales and characters and meeting with illustrious movers and shakers over the last several decades. From meeting with Margaret Thatcher, Yasser Arafat and heads of the KGB or visiting Beirut, Rwanda or a desert prison in the Negev, these people and places are vividly portrayed.
This book is a fascinating and enjoyable glimpse into a writer's creative journey, acutely observed and recounted with the wry humour of its genial host.
Most of us found parts of the book interesting, particularly his research for the books he was writing, or about to write.
Not an easy read but enjoyed by some members.
A mixed response to this book. A couple of group members enjoyed it, but most members found it difficult to engage with, and some were not interested enough to finish it. Familiarity with le Carre's books might have helped. Led to some interesting discussion about spies though!
This was a popular choice by our group, but only 1/3 managed to finish it. Those less familiar with British history struggled with the wandering thoughts style, others wanted more details and depth into historical events described.
Beautifully written (of course!) quirky and interesting stories. What a life the man had. We did wonder how much to believe from a self-confessed liar!
Moments of brilliance shone through this book but the thread of the story was disjointed. Huge potential but a little disappointing. Perhaps we should be taking the author's age into consideration!
'The Pigeon Tunnel' sparked very good discussion for our book group. We agreed that John Le Carre writes very well. Everyone enjoyed experiencing the world events of the 60s through to the 90s through his experiences, as these events are of our time too.
Comments included: "Really interesting stories". " Wasn't sure I'd like the book, but was captivated". "Fascinating history". "Some tales more enlightening than others".
A lot of discussion about various aspects of the book. Not a quick read but very enjoyable. Great writing by a great storyteller, but how much is fact and how much is fiction One member dipped in and out.
Very well written stories; read with a grain of salt.