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Carré on spying

John Sutherland, 3 April 1986

A Perfect Spy 
by John le Carré.
Hodder, 463 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 9780340387849
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The Novels of John le Carré 
by David Monaghan.
Blackwell, 207 pp., £12.50, September 1985, 0 631 14283 5
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Taking sides: The Fiction of John le Carré 
by Tony Barley.
Open University, 175 pp., £20, March 1986, 0 335 15251 1
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John le Carré 
by Peter Lewis.
Ungar, 228 pp., £10.95, August 1985, 0 8044 2243 5
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A Servant’s Tale 
by Paula Fox.
Virago, 321 pp., £9.95, February 1986, 0 86068 702 3
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A State of Independence 
by Caryl Phillips.
Faber, 158 pp., £8.95, February 1986, 0 571 13910 8
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... England novelist, the laureate of a country physically, ideologically and spiritually clapped-out. Tony Barley reads le Carré ‘for ideology’. He discerns in the novels’ obsessive play with loyalty and treachery a classic depiction of the British liberal dilemma: ‘Fearing the definition and cost that taking sides entails, the liberal is most ...


Alan Bennett: What I Didn’t Do in 2007, 3 January 2008

... months since I was writing in my diary that sometimes being English it felt as if one smelled. To Tony Blair, though, it is of roses. Note how in the south-west even the humblest hamlet nowadays seems to boast a business park. 12 May, Long Crichel. Driving through rain-soaked Dorset we stop at Puddletown and the church there which is full of fixtures and ...

Little England

Patrick Wright: The view through a bus window, 7 September 2006

Great British Bus Journeys: Travels through Unfamous Places 
by David McKie.
Atlantic, 359 pp., £16.99, March 2006, 1 84354 132 7
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... its noble parish churches and its traditional preoccupation with stock breeding, grazing and barley growing, is one of the last remaining bits of untouched rural England.’ The Crown Hotel is now a residential home for elderly ladies; its courtyard has gone into service as a shopping arcade. Oakham recedes as I drive on towards Melton Mowbray, whose ...

Memoirs of a Pet Lamb

David Sylvester, 5 July 2001

... Valentino. Her time was filled by three activities. She was a wonderful cook of chicken soup, barley soup, matzo balls, gefilte fish, heimishe fish – fried fish to be eaten cold. She sat reading Yiddish books and newspapers. And she played patience, the cards spread out on the dining-room table. She taught me several varieties and I became and have ...

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