He will be remembered as perhaps the most significant novelist of the second half of the twentieth century in Britain. He will have charted our decline and recorded the nature of our bureaucracies like no one else has. But that''s just been his route into some profound anxiety in the national narrative. Most writers I know think le Carre is no longer a spy writer. He should have won the Booker Prize a long time ago. It''s time he won it and it''s time he accepted it. He''s in the first rank''.