The spy writer who held a grudge against Le Carré comes in from the cold
Willem Frederik Hermans thought the Briton’s famous book was based on his. Now one of his best works is coming out in the UK
After The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was published in 1963 it went on to become John le Carré’s most widely acclaimed book, winning several awards, being adapted for a Richard Burton-led feature film and becoming one of the most highly regarded novels of the cold war era.
A year earlier another spy book had been published in Britain: the English translation of a work by Willem Frederik Hermans, one of the greatest Dutch authors of the 20th century. The book, The Darkroom of Damocles, was an immediate success when it was published in the Netherlands, winning acclaim and also being adapted for film.