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The Night Manager by John Le Carre

The Night Manager (original 1993; edition 1993)

by John Le Carre

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1,696174,206 (3.53)31
Title:The Night Manager
Authors:John Le Carre
Info:Knopf (1993), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 429 pages
Collections:to read

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The Night Manager by John le Carré (1993)

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Read during Summer 2002

Jonathan Pine is the close observer, not a professional spy but able to be in the right place. This is not only the story of his infiltration of an arms dealer but also the void left for Secret Agencies with no Cold War spying to so and how to justify their role as intellgence gatherers. Fantastic, my only complaint is Jed, the mistress of the arms dealer, who seems to gain so much more in character than she reasonably could.
  amyem58 | Jul 14, 2014 |
Complex, tense and, as is usual for Le Carré, futile, this book explores the internal life of a man drawn into the most dangerous of roles, a secret agent operating a criminal gang, and the personal conflicts that allow him to be drawn into this work. The psychological profile is Le Carré’s stock in trade, and he applies it adeptly in a new setting, making the story less of a typical spy novel and more a study of character and circumstance. It would be a misnomer to call the book a spy novel (as the term is commonly used in marketing), but in fact Le Carré’s preoccupation with this theme is probably truer to the actuality of spying than the action adventures that usually go under that name. But this has always been Le Carré’s theme, and he excels at it.
The troubled characterization of the agent Jonathon Pine seems convincing enough, although internal verbalizing about his desire for the boss’s wife seems a bit overstated. Perhaps it is standing in for the passion that drives Pine – the reason he accepts such a role in the first place is his fury over the murder of another woman linked to the gang and his own propensity for uncontrolled rage. (But this is another recurring theme for Le Carré – men driven by an unattainable passion for a woman. Also as usual for Le Carré, the women’s roles are thinly sketched, primarily being just an object of interest for the male protagonists.) Pine’s passions underlay his military past, and carry him through the mistakes and betrayals to his heroic if unsuccessful achievements.
Interesting here is how the betrayals that, in other Le Carré books come from conflicting national interests and organizations, here come from corruption, careerism and conflict within the British secret services. And equally bad is the way that the protectors of international law profess to be against crime, but turn away when commercial interests are at stake. In this scathing characterization, the internal conflicts lead to the destruction of good operators who try to protect honor and truth, and to the torture and near death of the agent Pine. It is one of the few (somewhat) happy endings in Le Carré’s books that sees Pine’s handler make a trade with an utterly venal and despicable criminal for Pine’s life. It’s interesting to see how the bureaucrats manoeuvre to gain and lose control, and how a principled operator tries to rescue his operation. This seems much more realistic than the spectacular technology and personal heroics of the trashy spy novels.
Like Le Carré’s other novels, his tone is that of a distanced observer, even when describing the internal workings of his character’s mind. This again distinguishes it from the more conventional spy novels, where the point is the visceral excitement of the action. That isn’t the point with Le Carré, although he does build suspense and tension as his plot develops. But for a thoughtful examination of ambiguous morality, deceit and corruption in and between governments, Le Carré succeeds in illuminating what is really going on ( )
  rab1953 | Mar 21, 2014 |
My first le Carre. Enjoyed it very much.
Was a bit slow in the beginning. But awesome story.

I was expecting a Bond-esque story. Now I know what to expect from a spy thriller.
Bond doesn't do as much work as Pine. He is getting a lot done for him. Except maybe the shooting. Pine is just awesome.

Also, now I know I have started expecting a lot from endings because of all the Hollywood movies. This book just pushes you back with a low-key ending.

Kept me hooked to the story even when there were parts where it was very slow.

More le Carre for sure. ( )
  maheswaranm | Mar 20, 2014 |
With the cold war over, LeCarre shows the bureaucracy and petty rivalry among the various American and British intelligence agencies. It shows that money rules and that there really aren't any good guys left. ( )
  VictoriaNH | Nov 30, 2010 |
My first jaunt into espionage. Noteworthy features: remarkable vocabulary with a hint of Britian that takes some adjustment. Significant character development. At times a bit too much character development. The emphasis towards the end of the book shifted to the pencil pushers instead of the gun slingers, a bit drawn out. Over all a good read. I might try another le Carre before I reached for the night manager. ( )
  vincemccarrie | Oct 30, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Is "The Night Manager" up to the best of John le Carré? The equivocal answer has to be: yes, but only where it concerns the worlds of Roper and the London and Washington agencies. Their activities are handled with total assurance and an evident and infectious enjoyment. Elsewhere, however, Mr. le Carré sometimes surrenders to the inescapably sensational nature of the espionage thriller, and also to a romanticism about women that leads to the creation of a pipe-dream fantasy rather than a character in Jed, Roper's mistress.
added by Widsith | editNY Times, Julian Symonds (Jul 20, 1993)
In his superb new novel […] he works familiar territory with the mastery of a brilliant conductor returning to a favorite symphony. […] Through every page, the almost-numb heart and mind of Le Carre's still- honorable protagonist give this novel a heartbreaking gravity.
The Night Manager also obeys solid and readable conventions. […] But in seeking to move with the times, Le Carre has produced an adventure of the most old-fashioned and predictable sort. […] Hovering over this extravagant saga is a moralising, allegorical tendency that continues to drain the energy out of Le Carre's natural storytelling gift.
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On a snow-swept January evening of 1991, Jonathan Pine, the English night manager of the Hotel Meister Palace in Zurich, forsook his office behind the reception desk and, in the grip of feelings he had not known before, took up his position in the lobby as a prelude to extending his hotel's welcome to a distinguished late arrival.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679425136, Hardcover)

Enter the new world of espionage, where the skills forged by generations of spies during the darkest days of the Cold War are put to even more terrifying use. Penetrate the secret world of ruthless arms dealers and drug smugglers who have risen to unthinkable power and wealth. The sinister master of them all is an untouchable Englishman named Roper, the charming, unstoppable ruler of a corrupt world all his own.

Slipping into this maze of peril is a former British soldier, Jonathan Pine, who knows Roper well enough to hate him more than he hates any other man on earth. Now personal vengeance is only part of the reason Pine is willing to help the men at Whitehall bring Roper down.

From the Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:46 -0400)

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Voici, annonce de ja dans "Le volontaire de la nuit", le temps des nouveaux dangers. L'ennemi n'est plus le monde communiste, il est au coeur me me du monde capitaliste. Les riches et cyniques trafiquants d'armes et de drogue peuvent se re ve ler encore plus dangereux que les bureaucrates sovie tiques...… (more)

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