...recounted with the storytelling élan of a master raconteur — by turns dramatic and funny, charming, tart and melancholy ... this volume is filled with wonderfully drawn portraits of writers, spies, politicians, war reporters and actors who possess a palpable physicality and verve.
The Pigeon Tunnel is written in episodic chapters that can be read like short stories. Every sentence strives for effect. Mr. le Carré never relaxes control over his readers. Wherever he goes, he watches relentlessly and is collecting copy. Resentful anger and virile aggression are kept in check so that his descriptions are pungent but never spiteful ... There are many beautifully prepared anecdotes, which only seem probable if swallowed in a quick gulp, but The Pigeon Tunnel remains a powerful, punchy book full of irate provocations—and a smashing read.
The result is not so much a memoir as a collection of memories, many of them containing tantalizing intimations of a powerful autobiography that still yearns to be written ... Le Carré still writes his books with a pen, and they read that way; there were times I wished he had better tools to cut, paste and delete ... These minor lapses are redeemed when we get to the long and poignant chapter in which le Carré wrestles with the memory of his father...Le Carré’s colorful depictions of his father not only make this book a delight, they reveal how the author became such a master of deception tales.