In the autumn of 1993, author David John Moore Cornwell, more famously known as John le Carré, received a heartfelt fan letter from a reader in Los Angeles. Little did he know that this exchange would lead to a remarkable epistolary relationship that lasted for over two years. Susan Anderson, a museum curator and published poet, was the author of these letters that provide an intimate glimpse into the life of the celebrated author.
A Serendipitous Introduction
Susan Anderson was not initially familiar with John le Carré’s work. However, her curiosity was piqued when she saw him on the Charlie Rose show in the ’90s. During the interview, Le Carré discussed "The Night Manager" and his thoughts on post-Cold War literature. To Susan, he appeared not only vital but also handsome. His progressive views, especially his criticism of empire, resonated with her.
The Love Letters Begin
Convinced to read "The Night Manager" during a trip to the Caribbean, Susan became deeply engrossed in the novel. This book became a turning point in her life, as she had just celebrated her 40th birthday. She aspired to be a mature, alluring woman, much like Jeanne Moreau, embracing her wisdom and allure.
While Susan’s letters to Le Carré have not survived, his side of the correspondence tells a captivating story. Most of his letters to her were extensive, spanning six or seven pages. He often wrote to her about his work, life in Cornwall, and shared personal anecdotes that shed light on his character.
The Fusion of Work and Emotions
Le Carré’s letters to Susan reveal a deep connection between his creative work and emotional life. Writing to her served as a source of solace and inspiration for the renowned author. He confessed, "Sometimes just writing to you unlocks me, like writing to my muse." Their letters were like keys to their souls, shared exclusively between them.
In the early stages of their correspondence, Le Carré delicately probed the boundaries of their relationship, avoiding mundane inquiries about her background. He expressed a desire for a photograph but questioned whether it would be too forward. The intrigue intensified when Susan eventually sent him a photo, revealing her identity as a woman of color with lush, dark curls.
Navigating Complex Feelings
In one of his letters, Le Carré confessed that during a visit to Los Angeles to discuss a movie adaptation of "The Night Manager" with director Sydney Pollack, he had contemplated asking Susan out to dinner. However, he hesitated, fearing that he might embarrass her or that they both preferred the intimacy of their written exchanges.
The Enduring Legacy
The Love Letters of John le Carré provide a unique window into the inner world of a literary giant. These letters, discovered in the collection edited by Le Carré’s son Tim and published in 2022, underscore the powerful connection between an author’s work and their emotional life.
Le Carré’s correspondence with Susan Anderson stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of handwritten letters in our digital age. It’s a poignant reminder of how literature can bridge geographical distances and kindle the flames of intimate connection.
In the end, "The Love Letters of John le Carré" offer a rare and intimate insight into the life and mind of one of the world’s most celebrated authors, revealing the human beneath the literary mystique.
The Emotional Connection in John le Carré’s Love Letters
How old was John le Carré when he died?
John le Carré, the acclaimed author, passed away in 2020, at the age of 89. His collection of letters, which offers a glimpse into his life from his schoolboy days to his later years, remains a testament to his enduring legacy. (Anton Corbijn)
When will John le Carré’s letters be published?
The literary world is abuzz with excitement following last week’s announcement that a comprehensive collection of John le Carré’s letters is set to be published in November.
Did le Carré have a relationship with a fan?
A recently released volume by the long-time biographer of the master spy novelist sheds light on a series of previously undisclosed romantic entanglements. In an exclusive excerpt, it becomes apparent that le Carré initiated a correspondence with an admirer, an aspiring fiction writer, highlighting the close intertwining of his literary work and his emotional life.
Did John le Carré commit adultery?
In a revelation made three years after John le Carré’s passing, his official biographer uncovers a long-kept secret: the extramarital affairs that were kept hidden during his lifetime. As the deaths of John le Carré (David Cornwell) and his wife, Jane, within weeks of each other in 2020 and 2021 marked the end of an era, the silence surrounding this topic has finally been broken.
Who was John Le Carré’s lover?
While John Le Carré maintained a private persona, his documented affair with Susan Kennaway, the wife of his friend, the novelist James Kennaway, is a well-known part of his personal history. This relationship found its way into both James Kennaway’s novel "Some Gorgeous Accident" and John Le Carré’s "The Naive and Sentimental Lover." Moreover, it is detailed in "The Kennaway Papers," edited by Susan herself.
How many John Le Carré books are there?
The complete works of John Le Carré encompass an impressive collection of novels. While the exact count may vary, John Le Carré authored numerous books, with a significant portion dedicated to the spy and espionage genre. His literary legacy is a treasure trove for readers, offering a wealth of espionage and thriller novels to explore.