24 January, 2021

Man Who Stayed In The Cold

A complex, ambiguous world where the laws of gravity work slightly differently

Man Who Stayed In The Cold

The TV serial of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy opens with a sequence of Russian matryos­hka dolls with malevolent faces, emerging one out of the other, until the innermost doll  emerges, with a face that is chillingly blank. And that seems to capture everything John le Carre is all about—his books, as well as his own personal life. A riddle, inside an enigma, inside a mystery.

What le Carre has created is, in fact, not so much a ser­ies of books as a special world of his own, rather like William Faulkner’s Yoknap­at­awpha County or R.K. Nar­­ayan’s Malgudi. A complex, ambiguous world, inh­­­abited by people like Smi­­ley, Toby Esterhase, Peter Guillam and Karla, where the laws of gravity work slightly differently, and they speak a special language of their own, with words like ‘tradecraft’, ‘lamplighters’, ‘cou­sins’, ‘babysitters’ and ‘moles’. And once you’ve ente­red this strange, parallel world, you feel the need for a...



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