John Le Carré has died, aged 89. He was around for so long, and so productive with it, I had the sense he could go on forever.
Many pieces have appeared extolling his brilliance as a writer (e.g. this, and John Banville here). I only recently really started reading him seriously: I’ll focus a little here on some psychological insights apparent to me from his writing, rather than doing the literary critic thing.
His memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel, is superb and enlightening, summarising themes of family appearing in some of his novels; he had a disastrous and unresolved relationship with both of his parents, and this fractured set of relationships is reflected through much of his writing. His characters often seem on a quest to belong, to be attached, to be in a relationship, to affiliate: but they make the mistake of trying to find belonging and affiliation in impersonal institutions – which discard them with impunity when they are no longer needed.