“Doorstep” le Carré

By: snowgood

Dec 30 2020


Category: books

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Eighty odd years condensed into 500 pages maketh one mammoth book.

The great spy novelist died just before Christmas.

This well researched, and surprisingly honest biography shines on a spotlight on a neglected child (David Cornwell) and his battle to overcome the loneliness of his youth.

His father “Ronnie” was as fraudulent as Robert Maxwell, and he didn’t care who suffered along the way.

Time and again he’d default on repayments, cheat on his wife and do all that he could to obtain anything from hotel stays, holidays, and property by deception.

Ronnie did all that he could to dodge conscription and paying his dues. He went to prison on several occasions and still had the nerve to stand for parliament.

Time and again his past caught up with him, but each setback simply made him more determined to swindle others whilst living a glamourous lifestyle.

Ronnie entertained everyone from The Crazy Gang, to Bradman and the Australian Cricket Team.

He sent his on to boarding schools, but often failed to pay the fees. David (John Le Carré) was only 5 when his Mum (Olive) could stand the wretched marriage and deceit no more and left home without saying goodbye to her 2 sons.

Years of instability jarred David as he sought to get on academically, and eventually had to bail out of Lincoln College, Oxford because of controlling father.

Ironically he was quite young when one of his father’s “staff” introduced him to the German language.

After spending time there as a young adult he became fluent in the language, and an excellent skier.

Not much later he joined MI5 and had overseas postings.

Time and again the challenges of operating in restrictive organisational structure broke David, until he eventually used his talents to write, and build up a £20,000 nest egg.

Over the subsequent 50 odd years he went on to be a revered author all over the world.

In the new year I’ll delve into some of his bestsellers.

The Sisman biography is well worth reading, but leaves me with the impression that few of would swap his early life for his latter day “peace” or riches.

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