The Night Manager (TV Tie-in Edition): A Novel Paperback – March 29, 2016
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“Intrigue of the highest order.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“Richly detailed and rigorously researched . . . [John] Le Carré’s gift for building tension through character has never been better realized.”—People
“Grimly fascinating, often nerve-wracking, and impossible to put down.”—Boston Herald
About the Author
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Paperback : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0399594000
- ISBN-13 : 978-0399594007
- Dimensions : 4.17 x 1.18 x 7.49 inches
- Publisher : Ballantine Books; Media Tie In edition (March 29, 2016)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,085,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Although Smiley catapulted him the fame, and I still re-read them regularly, it’s the non-dagger novels like The Honourable Schoolboy and The Night Manager where his writing is so rich, so full of flawed but loveable human characters, and the plots and sub-plots and viewpoints duck and weave and bob like corks in a torrent creek. Above all, Le Carre remains hugely entertaining.
Le Carre has a verbosity that apparently can't be contained. He descriptions are wordy and have little or nothing to do with plot. If all the unnecessary words were taken out of this book, it would be 50-60 pages shorter. But not any better. The dialogue is B movie grade and the plotting is tortured. And the ending makes no logical sense.
Read this if you want a lesson on how not to write a book.
And for those who would argue that Le Carrre is just trying to set a "sense of place," they should read some Hemingway or Steinbeck. Writers who knew an economy of words could set the mood without going on and and on and on..
Really poorly written.
Note: this 1993 book has a different ending than the recent TV movie, but is otherwise the same thriller.
Top reviews from other countries
The book is superb. It has jumped to the top of my list of favourite le Carré works, nestling comfortably alongside The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. I would also classify this as the most accessible le Carré novel that I've read to date. I have to confess that my last outing, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, had me frequently searching the internet for annotations and chapter revisions as I desperately tried to keep pace with its myriad plot intricacies. The Night Manager is far less dense, whether you see that as a positive or negative in its favour, making it more of a page-turner for me as a result. It's also easy to see why it was chosen for adaptation; as the author remarks himself in the afterward, it is a novel that is 'eminently filmable'.
That segues into one final point I'd like to make, something of a caveat to all the above praise. Following the conclusion of the story, le Carré treats us to a retrospective on his experiences of having his novels adapted for the big (and sometimes small) screen. It's a fascinating insight into the world of book adaptations and the role of the author. The narrative builds towards his perspectives on the production of The Night Manager, and this is where I took issue: in describing his thoughts, he comments on the ending of the BBC adaptation, painting a pretty vivid picture of the climax. That would be fine if the book and show shared the same climax, but evidently they do not. As someone who has yet to see the show but fully intends to, it was a massive spoiler.
Overall, superb piece of fiction, but if you intend on watching the show straight after reading, then give le Carré's essay a wide berth until you've seen it.
As the story progresses it brings in the government agencies of Pure Intelligence and Enforcement --the author avoids the mention of MI6 by name, instead using the term ‘The River House’. Indeed, considering how much of the plot involves the inner workings of the British government, little mention is made of explicit departmental or Cabinet roles. A minister is involved, but of which department things remain vague. For the American input, however, there is little such ambiguity.
Prepare to be propelled into a viscerally rendered backdrop of Caribbean islands, superyachts, Egypt, drizzly Whitehall, Swiss mountains, the Cornish coastline, and Ireland during the Troubles.
Pine’s motivation is a combination of his loyalty to country and his love for two beautiful women, both of whom are the lovers of wicked men.
The narrative viewpoint is omniscient, yet with character-based prose appropriate to each of the several lead characters. (As the plot progresses, one could almost forget about poor Jonathan.) One pitfall of this authorial virtuosity is the risk it runs of feeling like a story told by an impressionist. Apart from a passage near the end with a cod Cornish tone, my robins, the narration is successful and kept this reader turning the pages.
The dialogue is brilliant throughout. The ending, by comparison, suffers a little from the weight of bringing all that has gone before together. The eschewing of cliché is to be admired, but some of us mortals struggle to hear the melody when it is so faintly played.
In his afterword le Carre has the good grace to acknowledge the success of TV and film adaptations of his novels. Certainly the amended 'The Night Manager' is an outstanding work of televsion drama while the BBC's Carla sagawith Alec Guinness astutely omit the pointless 'The Honourable Schoolboy'. Feature films of 'The Constant Gardener', 'The Tailor of Panama' and 'The Spy Who Came in From the Cold' also work well although the recent film adaption of 'Tinker Tailor . . .' is elkss sucessful because the novels need the extended playing time of a TV series.
An average sort of read, too often dull in parts and lacking credible characterisation. The TV series is much better.
During the final third of the book there is too much plotting and politicking in the corridors of power for my taste. Whilst in other books such as the Smileys or The Spy Who Came In From The Cold Le Carre approached the same level of detail, in those other books it held my interest as it moved the plot along. The TV series focussed more on Roper, Pine et al and that interested me more; I suspect it's because I find taking in images more powerful than absorbing from text. Added to which, the lives of those behind the scenes in HQ didn't interest me, neither in my original reading nor the recent repeat.
A pretty good book nonetheless, I'd have given it 4 stars if I thought I might read it again.