Top 30 John le Carré Quotes

A dead man is the worst enemy alive, I thought. You can’t alter his power over you. You can’t alter what you love or owe. And it’s too late to ask him for his absolution. He has beaten you all ways.


It is said that men condemned to death are subject to sudden moments of elation; as if, like moths in the fire, their destruction were coincidental with attainment.


Yet it’s not for want of future that I’m here, he thought. It’s for want of a present.


I would say that since the war, our methods-out and those of the opposition-have become much the same. I mean you can’t be less ruthless than the opposition simply because your government’s ‘policy’ is benevolent, can you now?


By repetition, each lie becomes an irreversible fact upon which other lies are constructed.


Tyranny is like the electric wiring in an old house. A tyrant dies, the new tyrant takes possession, and all he has to do is drop the switch.


Wives?” she asked, interrupting him. For a moment, he had assumed she was tuning to the novel. Then he saw her waiting, suspicious eyes, so he replied cautiously, “None active,” as if wives were volcanoes.


He sees passion in her gray eyes, and it scares him as all passion scares him, his own included.


She’s become a Russian again, he thought. When something works, she’s grateful. When it doesn’t work, it’s life.


I have a theory which I suspect is rather immoral,’ Smiley went on, more lightly. ‘Each of us has only a quantum of compassion. That if we lavish our concern on every stray cat, we never get to the centre of things.


If there’s no sea-gull there’s no meeting, Wicklow had said. No sea-gull means abort. That’s my epitaph, thought Barley. ‘There was no sea-gull, so he aborted.


… in moments of crisis our thoughts do not run consecutively but rather sweep over us in waves or intuition and experience …


I don’t break down,” she announced. “Got it?”He got it. He was already pulling back, looking ashamed of himself, but somehow he was still holding her wrist.”I never break down. I’m a lawyer.


There was nothing dishonourable in not being blown about by every little modern wind. Better to have worth, to entrench, to be an oak of one’s own generation.


He knew how intelligent men could be broken by the stupidity of their superiors, how weeks of patient work night and day could be cast aside by such a man


Give a man a car of his own and he leaves humility and common sense behind him in the garage.


He had the nerve not to drink in a University where you proved your manhood by being drunk most of your first year.


Haydon had found his charm again. He could do that at the drop of a hat. He drew you and he repelled you. I remember that exactly. He danced all ways for you, playing your emotions against each other because he had none of his own.


A lot of people see doubt as legitimate philosophical posture. They think of themselves in the middle, whereas of course really, they’re nowhere.


The vertical manThough we value noneBut the horizontal one.


The monsters of our childhood do not fade away, neither are they ever wholly monstrous


There comes a moment for all of us when our childhood ceases to be an excuse. In your case, I would say that, as with many English, the moment is somewhat delayed.


When the truth finally catches up to you, don’t be a hero and run.


one of those world builders who do othing but destroy,


When a problem threatens to engulf you, there’s nothing like irrelevant detail to keep your head above water.


We’ve had enough.” He took back the report and jammed it under his arm. “We’ve had a bellyful, in fact.””And like everyone who’s had enough,” said Control as Alleline noisily left the room, “he wants more.


society is unconcerned with the aftermath of sensation.


Do you know what love is? I’ll tell you: it is whatever you can still betray.


They might have you, and they pay badly enough to guarantee you decent company.


Some men will never be heroes, some heroes will never be men, he thought, with urgent acknowledgements to Joseph Conrad.



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