Spy and novelist John le Carré: I nearly left the West

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John le Carré, the espionage writer, has revealed that he was tempted to defect to the Soviet Union during the cold war.

The author, whose real name is David Cornwell, wrote his first novel while working for MI6 in 1961. He says he was not attracted to communism –- he was just curious to find out what life was like behind the iron curtain in the 1960s.

His books, including The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, portray a world of moral ambiguities.

In an interview in today’s News Review, le Carré says: “When you spy intensively and you get closer and closer to the border... it seems such a small step to jump... and, you know, find out the rest.” Asked if he was genuinely tempted, he said: “Yes, there was a time when I was, yes.”

[John le Carré continues his exploration of the post-Cold War thriller in ``A Most Wanted Man'' (Scribner, Oct. 7)]

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