Jul 13th, 2010 by iq2
Theo Tate and Charles Cumming debate the caliber of John le Carré as a novelist. Tate argues that le Carré’s success is firmly confined to the thriller and crime novel genre. He does praise some of his work, in particular Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and he too deems him a ‘very good writer,’ but he argues that le Carré has failed to cross the boundary into serious fiction. He heavily criticises the limited scope of his story lines and highlights examples of his work which he finds ‘pretty awful,’ The Naïve and Sentimental Lover, for instance. Cummings on the other hand, attacks the pretention of the literati and sees the very notion of genre to be ‘nonsensical.’ He maintains that le Carré is an all-rounder and has produced ‘several masterpieces.’ Tate and Cummings debate the quality of le Carré’s sentences, but, as Cummings points out, they could play that game all day. Cummings praises le Carré’s ability to illuminate the secret political world of the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Yet, Tate dismisses the idea that his writing was any true reflection of the reality of the situation. He criticises the simplicity of his conclusions and suggests that George Smiley was merely a clever counter-piece to Bond – the anti-Bond. Summary of the video as it will appear on the front end.