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John le Carre quotes

In the last 15 or 20 years, I've watched the British press simply go to hell. There seems to be no limit, no depths to which the tabloids won't sink. I don't know who these people are but they're little pigs.

Novelists are not equipped to make a movie, in my opinion. They make their own movie when they write: they're casting, they're dressing the scene, they're working out where the energy of the scene is coming from and they're also relying tremendously on the creative imagination of the reader.

People who've had very unhappy childhoods are pretty good at inventing themselves. If nobody invents you for yourself, nothing is left but to invent yourself for others.

Until we have a better relationship between private performance and the public truth, as was demonstrated with Watergate, we as the public are absolutely right to remain suspicious, contemptuous even, of the secrecy and the misinformation which is the digest of our news.

A committee is an animal with four back legs.

The monsters of our childhood do not fade away, neither are they ever wholly monstrous. But neither, in my experience, do we ever reach a plane of detachment regarding our parents, however wise and old we may become. To pretend otherwise is to cheat.

I made a series of wrong decisions about moderately recent books, and I've sold the rights to studios for ridiculous amounts of money and the films have never been made. That's the saddest thing of all, because they're locked up and no one else can make them.

Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.

A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.

It's part of a writer's profession, as it's part of a spy's profession, to prey on the community to which he's attached, to take away information - often in secret - and to translate that into intelligence for his masters, whether it's his readership or his spy masters. And I think that both professions are perhaps rather lonely.

History keeps her secrets longer than most of us. But she has one secret that I will reveal to you tonight in the greatest confidence. Sometimes there are no winners at all. And sometimes nobody needs to lose.

My definition of a decent society is one that first of all takes care of its losers, and protects its weak.

A spy, like a writer, lives outside the mainstream population. He steals his experience through bribes and reconstructs it.

Americans believe that if you know something, you should do something about it.

But I think the real tension lies in the relationship between what you might call the pursuer and his quarry, whether it's the writer or the spy.

Every writer knows he is spurious; every fiction writer would rather be credible than authentic.

Once you've lived the inside-out world of espionage, you never shed it. It's a mentality, a double standard of existence.

The longing we have to communicate cleanly and directly with people is always obstructed by qualifications and often with concern about how our messages will be received.

America has entered one of its periods of historic madness, but this is the worst I can remember.

But there is a big difference in working for the West and working for a totalitarian state.