It was easy to misunderstand her as just a typist – and many did – not only because she also typed everything, as he never learned how, but also because her interventions were made in private, before the text was ever seen by anyone else. I was witness to it as a child and then as a teenager, but by and large only they knew what passed between them and how much she reframed, adjusted, trained the novels as they grew. She was adamant that her contribution was not writing, that the creative partnership they had was uneven. She declined interviews and stepped out of photographs – even family ones, so that as we were looking this week for images for the order of service at her cremation, we had very few, and those were stolen moments gleaned before she could practise her invisibility trick. It was part of how it worked: he produced, they edited; he burned, she fanned.
Saturday, March 13, 2021
"My father was famous as John le Carré. My mother was his crucial, covert collaborator"
Nick Harkaway wrote about his parents: