Le Carré Uncovered?

Let me tell you a few things about myself. Not much, but enough…. I never knew my mother till I was twenty-one. I act like a gent but I am wonderfully badly born. My father was a confidence trickster and a jailbird.… I hate the telephone. I can’t type…. I live on a Cornish cliff and hate cities. I don’t see many people. I write and walk and swim and drink. Apart from spying, I have in my time sold bath-towels, got divorced, washed elephants, run away from school, decimated a flock of Welsh sheep with a twenty-five-pound shell because I was too stupid to understand the gunnery officer’s instructions…

–John le Carré (David Cornwell), born on this day in 1931; famously reclusive and reticent about his personal life, le Carré says that his just-published A Delicate Truth “comes closer to my skin than any of my more recent novels.”

Daybook is contributed by Steve King, who teaches in the English Department of Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland. His literary daybook began as a radio series syndicated nationally in Canada. He can be found online at todayinliterature.com.