Questions tagged [john-le-carre]

Questions about the works of John Le Carre (1931-2020), the British author best known for his George Smiley espionage novels, or his life as a writer.

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19 votes
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What do these espionage tradecraft phrases from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy mean?

When Ricky Tarr is recounting his story to George Smiley, he speculates that Boris -- a Russian spy working undercover as a trade delegate -- was "waiting for a connect, working a letterbox, maybe, or ...
Tom's user avatar
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16 votes
4 answers

Why did John le Carré choose that particular (French) pseudonym?

The former MI5 and MI6 agent David John Moore Cornwell used the name John le Carré on his numerous spy novels. Wikipedia explains why he had to write under a pseudonym: he wrote the detective story ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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6 votes
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Connection between Hamburg and Opitz

Taken from Le Carre's Smiley's People: The only link to Hamburg he might have pleaded—if he had afterwards attempted the connection, which he did not—was in the Parnassian field of German baroque ...
Silent Sojourner's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer

What is the supposed cover story in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"?

Spoilers for John Le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. In this novel, Percy Alleline has become the director of “the Circus”, a fictional British intelligence service. Alleline and the department ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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3 votes
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Does "State Security" have a specific meaning or is it just a generic name?

This sentence was taken from Le Carre's novel Smiley's People: As a condition of your application being favourably considered by the authorities, you signed an undertaking to the organs of State ...
Silent Sojourner's user avatar
1 vote
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What does operatic conspiracy mean?

From Le Carre's Smiley's People: And when she opened the door to him, he slipped past her like a shadow: a little hobgoblin of a fellow, in a black overcoat with velvet tabs on the collar, giving him ...
Silent Sojourner's user avatar