The Night Manager

  • by John le Carré
  • Narrated by Michael Jayston
  • 19 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Relentless, gritty and full of unexpected twists, The Night Manager is John le Carré's 14th novel, and it is every bit as enthralling as his earlier works, like the best-selling The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
The night manager is Jonathan, a veteran of clandestine operations. In flight from a failed marriage and his own past, he has taken refuge in the luxury hotel trade. Yet he finds no escape from his demons. Driven by a desire for atonement and by an inherited patriotism, Jonathan allows himself to be recruited as a British secret agent with a mission to expose the murderer of the woman he himself betrayed. His odyssey takes him across Britain and Canada to the Caribbean and the jungles of Panama. But there are more treacherous jungles still in Whitehall and Washington.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not an Easy Lsten, but Worthwhile

I have not found this an easy listen. In fact, I have only completed this audiobook after two aborted attempts. You see, it requires attention to a degree that my half-hour daily commute to and from work simply doesn't provide.

The story is so full of details that seem important to the ambience and characterisation of its varied cast. Michael Jayston really is a joy to listen to as he puts on the often teasingly entertaining accents that portray culture and skin colour better than any photograph could.

Le Carré is rarely humourous, but frequently ironic and even sarcastic about political and class hypocrisy, not sparing people of influence and responsibility. Every sentence has its place in this book. Never a superfluous repetition, never an inconsistency (that I noticed).

To appreciate this audiobook takes an effort on the part of the listener. But the reward is waiting, and the last couple of chapters have upset my night's sleep to an extent that few audiobooks have - possibly with the exception of Robert Harris' The Ghost, also read expertly by Michael Jayston.

Do I recommend this title? Absolutely! But expect to make an effort on your part!

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- Nils

Two can keep a secret only if one of them is dead

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.

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- Rachel Redford

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-11-2011
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.