“At the start of it all, Jonathan Pine is merely the night manager at a luxury hotel. But when a single attempt to pass on information to the British authorities – about – an international businessman at the hotel with suspicious dealings – backfires terribly, and people close to Pine begin to die, he commits himself to a battle against powerful forces he cannot begin to imagine.
In a chilling tale of corrupt intelligence agencies, billion-dollar price tags and the truth of a brutal arms trade, John le Carre creates a claustrophobic world in which no one can be trusted.”
Many of you will have seen the recent TV version of this novel recently (as I have done) and will possibly be um-ing and err-ing over whether or not to read the book. I would strongly recommend it!
Unfortunately I did watch ‘the Night Manager’ before I read it – something I always try to avoid. Nevertheless it was a great read and the ending was somewhat unexpected as it didn’t follow the televised version, or rather the series did not follow the book!
The language style was refreshing as whilst it was evidently sophisticated, it was still an easy read and very clear to follow. Multiple narration is a feature I always enjoy as it gives you more than one perspective, and I feel that le Carre has achieved this well. However, whilst I really enjoyed the parts of the story involving and narrated by Jonathan (the protagonist), I found the parts about the intelligence agencies in England a little tedious after a while. These chapters were the places where my mind tended to wander and I had to reread a couple of sections.
I feel that these sections could have been cut down a little at the beginning as towards the end of the book there was some action in England as well! I found a couple of the characters were unnecessary although I do realize the importance of the English intelligence story line to the overall plot.
Those of you who have seen it on TV, will remember the character Angela Burr (played by Olivia Colman), the curly haired, pregnant Englishwoman who was Jonathan’s handler? Well in the book she, is actually a he by the name of Leonard Burr. It was a tad confusing. I understand why the producers changed to Angela Burr for the screen (it would have otherwise been a very male production).
I personally feel that characters shouldn’t be changed for the sake of having more female roles, but that they should have to be able to bring something more to a story (other than a love interest and/or feminine charm. Thankfully the character Olivia Colman portrayed is very effective; she’s strong willed, doesn’t back down, and refuses to let the fact that she’s heavily pregnant get in her way!
So back to the story. Did I like it? No. I loved it. For the most part it was exciting and tense, there was always that feeling of tension running through the book. The use of flashbacks at the beginning worked well as it meant that there was an air of mystery to Jonathan’s past even for the reader. (Coincidentally this was also different in the screen version but I though each version worked well in its own way).
The ending was where I was disappointed. Having seen the TV version I was all geared up for a dramatic, shocking and satisfying ending. It was not to be. Oh there was drama; Jonathan’s cover was blown by Roper (the bad guy he was spying on) and he was imprisoned and tortured. But that was the only real drama and the remainder of the book was anticlimactic.
In the televised version, there is a big tussle and Roper is caught and about to be sent to jail when he is captured by the people he wronged and taken off to what we assume is his death. Jonathan and Jed (Roper’s ex who Jonathan falls for) part on good terms on the understanding that they will see each other again. However in the book it was a lot more complicated. There was some sort of bluff achieved by English intelligence which was a bit confusing and then the rest of the book was a little too idyllic for my liking.
(No more spoilers I promise)
Anyway, overall the book was rather enjoyable and I feel as though I would have liked it even more had I not known the plot beforehand! I would recommend this regardless of if you have seen the TV version or not.