Farewell John le Carre, thank you for all the extraordinary books and the immortal George Smiley. It was no doubt very hard work, but you made it look so effortless, made it all so human.

[proofs of 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy']

Shakespeare’s Hamlet: ‘Well said, old mole! Canst work i’ the earth so fast? A worthy pioneer!’

Karl Marx: ‘The revolution is thoroughgoing ... It does its work methodically...& when it has accomplished ... Europe’ll leap from its seat & exult: Well burrowed, old mole!’
I reread this essay by Ian Buruma where he astutely notes this:

"People associate le Carré with the spy novel. This is accurate, up to a point....But le Carré’s novels also belong to a genre at which English writers often excel: the comedy of manners."
“David Cornwell (farthest right) is the only dwarf without a beard in a junior school production of Snow White.”
NYT Bestseller List, 23 August 1964.

‘The Spy who Came in from the Cold’ was #1 for 35 weeks.

[fascinating fiction list: ‘Julian’ by Gore Vidal & ‘Armageddon’ by Leon Uris]
If le Carre's novels were turned into paintings, they would perhaps be something like the ones done by James Hart Dyke, who painted a year in the life of MI6.
Karla meets Smiley in New Delhi

[~ @SirPatStew & Alec Guineas]
My favorite le Carre line: "The cat sat on the mat is not a story. The cat sat on another cat's mat is a story".
Le Carre on spies who left the business of espionage and took up writing (Somerset Maugham, Compton Mackenzie, Graham Greene)
"Forbidden by his employers to write under his own name, the author fixed on “John le Carré.” Over the years he gave various explanations for it, finally admitting that he could not remember which, if any, were true."
Where did le Carre learn to write?
le Carre on Richard Sorge, arguably, the most *consequential* spy of WW2
"General Drozdov [was the closest to Karla] the Soviet intelligence officer who spars with the agent George Smiley. He was probably the “closest that there really was to a figure like John le Carré’s Karla” as a “committed tradecraft professional.”" nytimes.com/2017/07/10/wor…
On French TV:

'The entire plot is set in motion when Malotrou betrays his country for a woman he met undercover in Syria. Suspense simmers in conference rooms & in the field. “That’s the legacy of John le Carré."

[who can resist Nadia el Mansour?]
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy -- 1979 vs 2011
“MI5 agent-runner John Bingham, who shared an office with le Carre for a while; he was the physical model for George Smiley.”
“John le Carre stands on the left of the picture & the great Don Bradman stands next to his stepmother, Jean, holding aloft his half-sister Charlotte, 1948.”

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More from @KS1729

4 Dec
9. Richard Lloyd Parry narrates his deep & perceptive essay on Japan, Japanese royal family, & the greatly admirable previous Emperor Akihito & his efforts to make the monarchy & Japanese society more sensitive to harm done in his father's name. [mp3] sphinx.acast.com/londonreviewpo… Image
10. An excellent long conversation with Stephen Kotkin on the occasion of the 100th birth anniversary of the great Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, conservative, anti-Communist, and a terrifying moral presence. files.libertyfund.org/econtalk/y2019… ImageImage
11. Excellently fun & insightful conversation w/ Pratap Bhanu Mehta who talks to two Pakistanis who probe what does it mean to be Indian, what is the Indian project, where does it fall short -- a great many interesting & open questions discussed.
feeds.soundcloud.com/stream/2452922… [.mp3] Image
Read 24 tweets
22 Oct
if you know Malappuram in Kerala & the dynamics of its Islamist politics, 'Halal Love Story' on Amazon Prime is very interesting & good -- about two guys (from Jama'at e Islami) who set out to make a film. Image
it speaks to a deep truth: even the orthodox enjoy cinema.

how then can they go about participating in a modern art that has its own grammar of presentation & aesthetic which doesn't efface the moral ambitions of their self-consciously fashioned antimodern views?
understandably, the filmmakers argue -- religion is not the opium of the masses. cinema is.

all this is done in a light, spoofy sort of way.

plus, good to see Malabari Malayalam spoken on the screen without caricature.
Read 4 tweets
8 Oct
Louise Gluck: on the myths of originality versus, that ‘lesser thing’, uniqueness....
Earthworm — Louise Gluck
Read 7 tweets
8 Oct
wonderful use of, what sounds like, Brindabani Sarang. such joyous sketches...
In a different valence, another kind of Brindabani Sarang by Aarti Anklikar | द२स् बिना...
another version of Brindavana Saranga

excerpts from a verse composed during the Sangam era, 100 CE to 300CE, reimagined by the genius of Anil Srinivasan (piano) and Sikkil Gurucharan (vocals)

Red Earth and Pouring Rain
Read 4 tweets
30 Aug
88. How is it to be living in a world where the old Gods are yet to recede and the new God is yet to fully emerge and take form? Chaos, violence, fundamentalism, tradition -- a great Gore Vidal novel about an age when Christianity froths from the margin & becomes state religion. Image
89. To see man for who he truly is--a monster, a moron, & a miracle-- requires courage. But life is also love, betrayal, & unsteady virtues. Machiavelli's life was filled w/ all even if his diagnosis of man was called evil. He was a good husband, a doting father, & a kind friend. Image
90. Where does science happen? For many, scientific knowledge is an unsullied quest for empirical truths. But courtesy Steven Shapin, I learnt that what gets acknowledged as "scientific knowledge" is also subject to all that influences how humans ascribe authority & credibility. Image
Read 4 tweets
27 Aug
I was thinking about this play yesterday, and thought I'll make small thread for those interested.

1. This play ('Urubhangam', 'The Shattered Thighs') -- for which I've made a cover -- is a one-act [vyayoga] play by Bhasa, inspired from the Mahabharata, that ocean-sized epic.
2. First things first, this was the original Penguin cover -- of the plays in case any of you want to buy a recent translation of 6 plays.
3a. Set on the18th day of the Kurukshetra war, the Kaurava warlord Duryodhana who hides in a lake, wounded, then dies at the hands of Bhima thanks to Krishna's cunning, the blind king Dhritharashtra heads into the forest, & Ashwathamma sets out for the night-massacre of Pandavas.
Read 20 tweets

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