Just before the release of The Honourable Schoolboy, Time published a cover story profile of John Le Carré. If you’re too lazy or busy to read Adam Sisman’s recent doorstopper of a biography, the Time profile is a very good shortcut. The work of Stefan Kanfer, Dean Fischer and Anne Hopkins, it’s a very nice profile.
The standout, however, is the cover art of the issue by Don Ivan Punchatz. According to that fount of sometimes dubious of knowledge Wikipedia, Punchatz was primarily a artist of sci-fi and fantasy book covers although he also did work for Time, National Geographic and more.
I really like this one. Le Carré’s portrait is center stage but it’s surrounded by these wonderful vignettes from the novel.
Spoiler alert: Punchatz has pulled from the climactic moment at the very end of the book. A dramatic moment to be sure but a bit of a surprising choice given the book was just being released. Maybe people didn’t get as worked up about those types of things as they do now.
I do recommend the article. It has some really nice photos of le Carré as well as a neat primer on some of the terminology that le Carré created for his spy world. I hope to talk about another aspect of the article at a later date.
Copies of the magazine can be found online and are relatively inexpensive. You can also purchase it online via Time or I’d recommend searching your local library’s online databases.
Through my eBay travels I found a copy of the cover signed by le Carré himself.
It’s a fun addition to the collection.