LISTENER

David Schafer

  • 1
  • review
  • 18
  • helpful votes
  • 16
  • ratings
  • The Night Manager

  • A Novel
  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: David Case
  • Length: 18 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 174
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 162
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 163

John le Carré, the legendary author of sophisticated spy thrillers, is at the top of his game in this classic novel of a world in chaos. With the Cold War over, a new era of espionage has begun. In the power vacuum left by the Soviet Union, arms dealers and drug smugglers have risen to immense influence and wealth. The sinister master of them all is Richard Onslow Roper, the charming, ruthless Englishman whose operation seems untouchable.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • War is a racket.

  • By Darwin8u on 10-05-16

Good book. Get the Michael Jayston version instead

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-28-16

I enjoyed Le Carre's words, but personally found David Case's narration to be quite off-putting. Case puts on distinct voices for each of the book's characters but, to the audiobook's detriment, selects for the narrator (who speaks for the bulk of the time) a particularly smarmy British that sounds like the natural outcome of teaching a child to speak by exposing them exclusively and in equal parts to recordings of prohibition-era movie robbers saying "So long, coppers" and untraveled Americans imitating British accents by saying, " 'ello Gub'nah". What's more, there are a number of 2-3 second, mid-sentence pauses that undermine Le Carre's unique flair for language and long, intricate sentences. While I've not listened to Michael Jayston's version of The Night Manager, I can vouch for his work on other Le Carre titles, which was excellent. Before buying, do consider listening to Audible's samples of both versions and decide which you'd prefer.

The story itself is good.

If you're coming from the AMC miniseries, the plot differs meaningfully in a number of ways, generally in the direction of spending more time on the mind/tradecraft of a spy and less on the James Bond-esque explosions.

If you're coming from Le Carre's other novels, The Night Manager is an above-replacement-value entry, and, if it is not quite at the same level as Tinker Tailor or The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, it is certainly still a good read. While it is set in the Smiley universe, there is no required (or even helpful) context from the previous books, nor does the Night Manager give away the previous books' secrets. The characters are a mixture of great and reasonably good (Roper: great; Goodhew: grand; Eponymous Hotelier: meh, okay). The story is Le Carre's first real success in translating his style to a post-Berlin Wall world (Russia House's central Brits v. Russians conflict was dulled by perestroika and Secret Pilgrim was more a book of B-Sides from the good old days than a coherent story of its own).

Bottom Line: it's a good book, worth listening to. Maybe just buy the Jayston version...

18 of 23 people found this review helpful