The Pigeon Tunnel
The Pigeon Tunnel Stories From My Life By Le Carré, John Book - 2016

A treasure-trove for fans of le Carre (aka David Cornwell), as he relates encounters and events that inspired so many of his characters and stories. The chapter on his parents is more amusing and bizarre than any of his novels.

This book’s title refers to a sporting facility at a Riviera resort that Cornwell visited when he was a teenager. Pigeons were raised on the hotel roof and let loose through tunnels that ran under the lawn to a seaside cliff. As the birds emerged from the tunnel, tourists would fire at them with rifles. Pigeons that weren’t shot would return to their coop on the roof, unwittingly surrendering themselves to be sacrificed in future rounds of entertainment.

Cornwell thinks this a suitably grisly metaphor for the espionage racket and he considered using it as a title for any number of his spy novels, finally resurrecting it for this memoir.

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