The night manager is Jonathan, a veteran of clandestine operations. In flight from a failed marriage and his own past, he has taken refuge in the luxury hotel trade. Yet he finds no escape from his demons. Driven by a desire for atonement and by an inherited patriotism, Jonathan allows himself to be recruited as a British secret agent with a mission to expose the murderer of the woman he himself betrayed. His odyssey takes him across Britain and Canada to the Caribbean and the jungles of Panama. But there are more treacherous jungles still in Whitehall and Washington.
©1993 David Cornwell (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
1958-vintage. Reads several reviews before buying audiobooks. Listens mainly while commuting by car.
I have not found this an easy listen. In fact, I have only completed this audiobook after two aborted attempts. You see, it requires attention to a degree that my half-hour daily commute to and from work simply doesn't provide.
The story is so full of details that seem important to the ambience and characterisation of its varied cast. Michael Jayston really is a joy to listen to as he puts on the often teasingly entertaining accents that portray culture and skin colour better than any photograph could.
Le Carré is rarely humourous, but frequently ironic and even sarcastic about political and class hypocrisy, not sparing people of influence and responsibility. Every sentence has its place in this book. Never a superfluous repetition, never an inconsistency (that I noticed).
To appreciate this audiobook takes an effort on the part of the listener. But the reward is waiting, and the last couple of chapters have upset my night's sleep to an extent that few audiobooks have - possibly with the exception of Robert Harris' The Ghost, also read expertly by Michael Jayston.
Do I recommend this title? Absolutely! But expect to make an effort on your part!
As usual from Le Carré a well paced thriller, drawing the eader into the psychological And intellectual aspects of the plot, it's a contempory account of political and criminal intrigue, the lines between good and bad, political manouverings and the expediency of the hero caught up in all of this is a common theme in Le Carrés books, but I think it is well done here. Definitely worth a listen. Great narration as well, always crucial to the enjoyment of a good listen!
Writer and audiobook reviewer.
The ingredients of le Carre's 1993 novel may sound like spy thriller clichés - 50 million pound arms and drugs trafficking deals; complex agency and turf wars; exotic settings; killings, torture and near-killings; guns and more guns ... But this is le Carre who weaves these elements into a sophisticated narrative where every sentence is finely honed, the whole is cinematic and satisfyingly detailed and even the repugnant characters are irresistibly intriguing. The Night Manager of the hotel initially in Cairo, Jonathan Pine, is drawn into a complex plot of dangerous espionage and counter-spying in order to nail the vilely wealthy Onslow Roper not merely for his vast arms for cocaine trading but also for the part he played in the death of Sophie, the woman he loved.
The danger in this kind of novel is that a high-speed plot is all and the characters are one-dimensional, but this is not Le Carre's way. What makes Jonathan and the other characters we care about, such as Roper's English mistress Jed whom Jonathan comes to love, is their back stories which are deftly interwoven and which have no place in the television adaptation. Jonathan has an 'unsleeping past', neglected as a child and damaged by his relationships with women, which is recalled in brief, intriguing flashes inside his head, many of the incidents and feelings clearly taken from le Carre's own experiences. (Listening to Adam Sisman's Biography of le Carre downloadable from Audible makes enlightening background to le Carre's fiction). In the same way, Jed in her 'dressed nakedness' so fatally attractive to Jonathan is made a real woman trying to slough off a reckless, damaging past, not merely Roper's whore dressed by him in staggeringly costly dresses and decked in flashy jewellery as may appear on screen. There's a great deal of humour too - dark, cruel, satirical but funny - and a wealth of tiny details in description which make the listener focus on the close-up of the everyday as well as the wide sweeps of violence and intrigue, such as the little rabbits on a child's slippers.
The real star of this download is the narrator Michael Jayston. As the action races across continents including the Bahamas, Africa, Panama, Switzerland and a vast list of characters engage in fast-paced dialogue, Jayston has every accent right, every nuance, every mood captured, every cinematic scene fully but subtly exploited. It is quite remarkable and makes the whole listening experience something which a television adaptation however faithful, cannot be.
A contemporary tale from arguably the number one spy fiction writer ever. Gripping, compelling, believable, exciting.... in fact everything you expect and want from this genre is delivered with aplomb.
Strong characterisation and a gripping storyline with a huge sweep of locations. As usual Le Carre handles the atmospheres brilliantly.
The build up if suspense at the end of the book is momentous.
Yes and this is one of his best. He seems to have a great affinity to Le Carre's characters.
Beautifully read- a dark and gripping narrative.
Sad and disappointing like Le Carré should be.
I chose this original novel to listen to after watching the TV series. The comparisons are interesting not least because I have always previously given up on audio dramatisations of Le Carre's fiction because I've been unable to sufficiently distinguish the many different male characters. The TV version was appealing in part because of the realistically portrayed female characters, especially Angela (not Leonard) Burr. This original novel is darker, complex in a good way and although I find the lack of a believable female perspective irritating the writing is superb and I became totally immersed in the twists and turns. The ending mystified me. The narrator is practically perfect, I just substituted Olivia Coleman's voice in my head every time Burr speaks!
The hero/anti hero was not defined enough as a character and a bit two dimensional, which is odd as the other characters and the narrative were excellent, as well as the time and place(s). Although I watched the first episode of the tv adaptation it didn't spoil this for me. All in all a very good listen and I'm now looking forward to the whole TVseries!
Not only up to the usual John Le Carre standards but as ever brilliantly read by Michael Jayston. His characterisations are fantastic. The BBC has just started to sir a new version of The Night Manager and having watched one so far I can say that for my money the book and this narration are an order of magnitude better. Don't spoil the book by watching the BBC edition, get this audible version instead.
"a masterpiece, the arms trade monster"
John le Carre always draws the reader into the story he is telling, I kept questioning my own perceptions of where the law should or shouldn't apply. Supply meeting demand, and the people who are willing to be facilitators, create the monster in our midst with our tacit tolerance. A powerful story!
I read books by John Le Carre before so I was quite ready for the slow pace. However this book still took me ages to finish. I think that this plot will work better as a tv show (which I'm yet to watch) but as a book it is a bit too contemplative and not engaging enough to keep you on the edge of the seat if you are expecting a James Bond type of spy novel. It is not. It never is with Le Carre as far as I can tell.
Even though I did enjoy listening to it, I expected an edgier and more twisted ending.
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