What are we, after all?

“I’m pondering is what I’m doing.”

“Hell about?”

About being a sober adult making up my mind, he replied truculently in his head. About having a centre and a will instead of a bunch of stupid impulses and bad memories … .

The Tailor of Panama by John le Carre

He is so good and so clever and he makes me see things in worlds I could never inhabit – recruiting agents in a club in Panama is as alien to me as the bottom of the ocean. Le Carre bored and lost me when I was younger, in some omnibus edition starring George Smiley – the fault was mine. Years later, having been around the block a few times (and kicked in the head and/or guts along the way), there is so much there – the loss, the late rallies, lives summed up and thrown away. A highlight of last year was watching ‘A Most Wanted Man’ in a German cinema, in an audience that reacted differently to parts than an Australian audience would have.

“Everything in the world is true if you invent it hard enough and love the person it’s for!”


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