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The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life Audiobook, by John le Carré Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: John le Carré Narrator: John le Carré Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2016 ISBN: 9780735210059
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“Recounted with the storytelling élan of a master raconteur — by turns dramatic and funny, charming, tart and melancholy.” -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

The New York Times bestselling memoir from John le Carré, the legendary author of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, SpyThe Spy Who Came in from the Cold; and The Night Manager, now an Emmy-nominated television series starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie. John le Carré’s new novel, A Legacy of Spies, will be available from Viking in Fall 2017.

From his years serving in British Intelligence during the Cold War, to a career as a writer that took him from war-torn Cambodia to Beirut on the cusp of the 1982 Israeli invasion to Russia before and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, le Carré has always written from the heart of modern times. In this, his first memoir, le Carré is as funny as he is incisive, reading into the events he witnesses the same moral ambiguity with which he imbues his novels. Whether he's writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire or the opening bars of Beethoven’s Fifth; visiting Rwanda’s museums of the unburied dead in the aftermath of the genocide; celebrating New Year’s Eve 1982 with Yasser Arafat and his high command; interviewing a German woman terrorist in her desert prison in the Negev; listening to the wisdoms of the great physicist, dissident, and Nobel Prize winner Andrei Sakharov; meeting with two former heads of the KGB; watching Alec Guinness prepare for his role as George Smiley in the legendary BBC TV adaptations of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley’s People; or describing the female aid worker who inspired the main character in The Constant Gardener, le Carré endows each happening with vividness and humor, now making us laugh out loud, now inviting us to think anew about events and people we believed we understood.

Best of all, le Carré gives us a glimpse of a writer’s journey over more than six decades, and his own hunt for the human spark that has given so much life and heart to his fictional characters. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “John le Carré gives a virtuoso reading of his own memoir…Le Carré’s natural voice has a dark woodwind timbre and in mood ranges from amiable to indignant to melancholic…Le Carré shows himself to be a master of impersonation, giving marvelous versions of Margaret Thatcher, Yasser Arafat, Foreign Office pooh-bahs, miscellaneous Russians, and other exotics…This production delivers a wonderfully engaging dimension of voice.”

    Washington Post

  • “[Le Carré] is a polished raconteur, with an actor’s protean self-presentation, gifts of pace and timing, aptitude for entrances and exits.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “An illuminating, self-effacing, and pleasurable inquiry into le Carré’s creative process, offering globe-spanning thrills of a different but no less captivating kind than those associated with the novels.”

    USA Today

  • “Recounted with the storytelling élan of a master raconteur—by turns dramatic and funny, charming, tart and melancholy.”

    New York Times

  • “The name ‘John le Carré’ attracts the audience, but it’s David Cornwell confiding in us here, as if over dinner, then chatting long into the evening over snifters of brandy, or, as he unspools memories of Russia, glasses of vodka.”

    Associated Press

  • “Spies are le Carré’s preferred subject, but through them he grapples with larger human truths that transcend the cloak-and-dagger underworld.”

    American Scholar magazine

  • “The inviting, drinks-beside-the-fire style from a master of the craft never overtakes the details of le Carré‘s remarkable life or his strong insider’s opinions on issues of geopolitical import since World War II.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “John le Carré offers listeners a delightful treat with an engaging narration of his memoir…Listeners may feel as though they are nestled into a wingback chair with a glass of Scotch, sitting across from the great storyteller himself and hearing him recount amazing encounters from around the world. His Russian accents are as perfectly delivered as his deadpan humor. Whether or not listeners are familiar with le Carré‘s fiction, his memoir is captivating and exciting. Settle in and enjoy the smooth, velvety sound of a master as he delivers his own story. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for September 2016
  • A Washington Post Best Audiobook of 2016 Selection
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A Publishers Weekly Best Audiobook of 2016

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About the Author

John le Carré, the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell, is an English author of espionage novels. After attending the universities at Berne and Oxford, he taught at Eton and spent five years in the British Foreign Service. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, his third book, secured him a worldwide reputation as one of the greatest spy novelists in history. In 2011 his novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was made into a feature film starring Gary Oldman. Le Carré has more than twenty titles to his name and lives in Cornwall, Great Britain.