Tuesday, December 15, 2020

tinker, tailor, soldier, corpse

Authorial deaths are like buses, you wait nine-and-a-half months for one and then two come along in quick succession. Although to be fair they are unlike buses in that you can't buy tickets; that would be a bit weird. Anyway, hot on the heels of the death of Alison Lurie earlier this month comes the death of spy novelist (and former actual spy) John le Carré (aka David Cornwell). Two le Carré books have featured on this blog, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold waaaay back in early 2008 and Our Kind Of Traitor in 2015.

Le Carré was 89, which slots him into seventh place in age order, below the six nonagenarians on the list. He also takes second place (or second-last place, depending how you look at it) in the curse length list at a little under 13 years. 2020 has now featured three authorial deaths; only 2013, 2017 and 2018 (four each) have more. Of course 2020 isn't over yet.

The current list is below; note that I've retrospectively swapped Iain Banks and Elmore Leonard (June 2013 and August 2013 respectively) as they were in the wrong order. 
Author Date of first book Date of death Age Curse length
Michael Dibdin 31st January 2007 30th March 2007 60 0y 59d
Beryl Bainbridge 14th May 2008 2nd July 2010 77 2y 50d
Russell Hoban 23rd August 2010 13th December 2011 86 1y 113d
Richard Matheson 7th September 2011 23rd June 2013 87 1y 291d
Iain Banks 6th November 2006 9th June 2013 59 6y 218d
Elmore Leonard April 16th 2009 20th August 2013 87 4y 128d
Doris Lessing 8th May 2007 17th November 2013 94 6y 196d
Gabriel García Márquez 10th July 2007 17th April 2014 87 6y 284d
Ruth Rendell 23rd December 2009 2nd May 2015 85 5y 132d
James Salter 4th February 2014 19th June 2015 90 1y 136d
Henning Mankell 6th May 2013 5th October 2015 67 2y 152d
Umberto Eco 30th June 2012 19th February 2016 84 3y 234d
Anita Brookner 15th July 2011 10th March 2016 87 4y 240d
William Trevor 29th May 2010 20th November 2016 88 6y 177d
John Berger 10th November 2009 2nd January 2017 90 7y 55d
Nicholas Mosley 24th September 2011 28th February 2017 93 5y 159d
Helen Dunmore 10th March 2008 5th June 2017 64 9y 89d
JP Donleavy 21st May 2015 11th September 2017 91 2y 114d
Ursula Le Guin 6th December 2015 22nd January 2018 88 2y 49d
Anita Shreve 2nd September 2006 29th March 2018 71 11y 211d
Philip Roth 23rd December 2017 22nd May 2018 85 0y 150d
Justin Cartwright 7th September 2008 3rd December 2018 75 10y 89d
Toni Morrison 18th July 2010 5th August 2019 88 9y 20d
Charles Portis 3rd April 2018 17th February 2020 86 1y 320d
Alison Lurie 24th March 2007 3rd December 2020 95 13y 254d
John le Carré 21st February 2008 12th December 2020 89 12y 295d

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