Just finished reading ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ by John Le Carre and before that the ‘The Undefeated’ by George Paloczi-Horvath. A piece of fiction by a western writer who made his name out of the Cold War and an autobiography by a Hungarian writer imprisoned and tortured for ‘political crimes’ from 1947-55, by the government of the then soviet satellite state of Hungary. Le Carre’s story hinges around spy rings in ‘Czecho’, whilst Paloczi-Horvath was a Hungarian writer accused of spying for the British.

This meeting of novel and autobiography, has raised all kinds of questions around the  inter-connection of the imagined and the real. Here in Sturovo guarding a Bridge where the border guards are (not very) long gone, I am at a geographic epicentre of two different and strangely interwoven literary (and actual) worlds.

Cover of ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ John Le Carre, Sceptre Books 2011 (first published Hodder & Staughton 1974) with a photo of Gary Oldman from a poster from the new film.

Photo from ‘The Undefeated’ of George Paloczi-Horvath after his’ flight from Hungary’.