John le Carré

INTERVIEWER

It has been said the book [Tailor of Panama] mirrors what you feel about England at the moment.

LE CARRÉ

While abroad, I don’t want to talk gloomily about my country. I’ve become interested recently not in the macro-interpretation of my country, but the micro-interpretation. I live in a tiny, desolate part of England, where the real effects of what I see as terrible misgovernment—central misgovernment—can be felt in detail upon agriculture, fishing, communication, and transport, all of those things. My definition of a decent society is one that first of all takes care of its losers, and protects its weak. What I see in my country, progressively over these years, is that the rich have got richer, the poor have got poorer. The rich have become indifferent through a philosophy of greed, and the poorer have become hopeless because they’re not properly cared for. That’s actually something that is happening in many Western societies. Your own, I am told, is not free from it.

(Paris Review again, picture I found here credited to Jonathan Player of Rex Features)



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