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The Night Manager by John Le Carre
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The Night Manager (original 1993; edition 1993)

by John Le Carre

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1,870243,695 (3.56)41
Member:jarmstrong
Title:The Night Manager
Authors:John Le Carre
Info:Knopf (1993), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 429 pages
Collections:to read
Rating:***
Tags:None

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The Night Manager by John le Carré (1993)

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English (16)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Korean (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
I had high hopes for The Night Manager because le Carré is a very good writer in general. Even if the spy story ended up being convoluted, I could appreciate his turns of phrase and the settings he chose. But with this book, the story is told in a weird, detached way (especially the Cornwall sequence), and it flashes backwards and forwards and in the middle at a dizzying rate. My favourite bits were in the hotel at the beginning (they had a very Grand Budapest Hotel kind of feel) and the interlude in Quebec (because yay Canada). That being said, there was a detail in the Quebec scene that I found jarring: Pine is rumbled and has to flee rather abruptly, so someone gives him a bunch of dollar bills to help him disappear. The only problem is, the book was written (and presumably set) in 1993, and dollar bills were taken out of circulation in Canada in 1987. Dollar bills would have been VERY conspicuous. Maybe they were two-dollar bills? They certainly wouldn't have been US dollar bills because the town was in northern Quebec, not on the Canada-US border. I was prepared to overlook that detail, because it seemed unnecessarily picky, but the storytelling style didn't work for me, so I gave up. I think I'll just watch the TV adaptation. ( )
1 vote rabbitprincess | Mar 25, 2016 |
This was the first John Le Carre book I've read and I'll admit it I read it partially because I knew there was a mini series coming out for it on tv. (which is pretty enjoyable fyi). Anyway, the book didn't grab me right away but it kept my attention for the first few pages until I was into it. The character of Jonathan kind of confused me when he met Jed. He's attracted to her but thinks she's a total idiot?? That didn't make sense to me at all. Jonathan seemed kind of flaky himself when it came to romantic relationships. Almost too knight-in-shining-armor like he had some PTSD that he never dealt with. And I thought the last couple of chapters were less than fulfilling- and abrupt. I would have thought the ending would have been much different than it really was.
I might try another Le Carre later this year to see if maybe I'd have better luck getting my attention grabbed. ( )
  jovemako | Mar 7, 2016 |
When the Berlin Wall came down, and the Cold War ended, many people speculated what the future would hold in store for writers of spy fiction. John le Carre had established himself at the forefront of that genre, and critics waited with considerable interest to see how he would react to the changed times, and the virtual removal of his literary context.

'The Night Manager' was his first novel to be published in the post Cold War era, and it demonstrated that he wasn't particularly worried about adapting to a new agenda. The book bears all the hallmarks of his previous works: that extraordinary prose style that no-one has ever managed to emulate but which seems to flow so naturally and effortlessly for him, the air of despair encompassing his leading characters and a close attention to detail that always lends his novels such a depth of verisimilitude.

The protagonist, the night manager himself, is Jonathan Pine, a former soldier with more than customary amounts of career and family baggage, who has ended up working at a luxurious hotel in Zurich where he presides over the night shift. His attention is caught when Richard Roper, an immensely wealthy international tycoon, descends upon the hotel with his considerable retinue at short notice in the middle of a protracted blizzard. Pine has encountered Roper before and has a grudge to resolve. As the novel unfolds as Pine embarks on an espionage mission to expose Roper's dubious operations, going under deep cover, with professional assistance.

While not quite up to le Carre at his best, such as in 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy', this remains a very effective novel, cleverly plotted and delicately layered. ( )
1 vote Eyejaybee | Feb 4, 2016 |
I think this may be my favourite non-Karla le Carre novel, a post-Cold War spy thriller that darkly marks the transition from old-school espionage to more modern Pure Intelligence, recounting a desperate, but carefully and meticulously planned operation to bring down a wealthy British arms dealer by a small joint British/US agency known as Enforcement, while a larger, more powerful and shadowy set of players with tentacles in all levels of government and finance across the globe run their own, parallel operation, and would very much prefer the smaller operation to bugger off actually, thank you very much.

Point man for Enforcement is Jonathan Pine, ex-soldier, now Night Manager at an exclusive Swiss Hotel. The arrival of the arms deal, Richard Roper, one snowy night sparks memories of an earlier incident in Egypt which ended with a bloody murder, and inspires Pine to offer his services to British Intelligence. He is thereby recruited, trained and transformed, then pointed at Roper, and fired.

Every sentence shines, every character burns, every twist and turn, whether it's Pine's sweaty, queasy infiltration of Roper's life and affairs, or the efforts of members of Enforcement in London and Miami to protect themselves and Jonathan from political and economic skullduggery and a brutal war between intelligence agencies, is described with a cool, tight grace and emotional restraint as the principals become gradually aware of the extent of their self-deception in thinking they could wrestle even the smallest of victories against corruption on such a scale. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
I can’t say that I found Pine a particularly convincing character, more super-human in many ways so this novel didn’t capture me in the way some of le Carré’s have. Similarly the two women are over the top – Sophie an undeveloped creation with such an influence on Pine and then her successor, Jed, who’s just too beautiful for words. And Roper’s the ultimate villain.

Behind these characters is the more convincing part of the narrative for me, namely the corruption at the top that undoubtedly exists side by side or should that be in cahoots with the arms and drugs smugglers of the world. I did find, though, that the story was protracted with too many characters and too many side paths.

Style-wise there were high points such as the reference to old people who’d undergone cosmetic surgery, ‘but no surgery on earth could spare them the manacled slowness of old age’.

This, then, was a bit of an excursion in James Bond territory even if there is a great deal more angst than 007 ever had. ( )
  evening | Apr 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (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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Graham Goodwin

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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:07 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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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