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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!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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.
So well-researched, so eloquently written, such a convincing story. Lots of moral indignation at political cynicism and piercing characterisations. This was my second listen to this book as I did not give it my full attention the first time around.
Well worth the time!
45 of 45 people found this review helpful
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.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful
Although I listened to the first chapter twice and persisted with the whole book, I found it very difficult to concentrate on and to follow the rather involved story. The narrator’s rather soporific voice did not help to hold my attention either.
Not having read any of John le Carré’s books, I did not know quite what to expect, but there were so many different characters, whose voices often sounded similar, that I became quite confused.
Perhaps this book would appeal more to someone who likes this genre, but I am not one of them. My neighbour saw the story televised and really enjoyed it; perhaps it is more suited to this medium, where one can see the characters, as well as hear them talk.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I have listened to this three times in several months and loved every minute of it. Brilliant story and wonderful characters . Fantastic narration .