Wednesday, August 03, 2016

"The Night Manager" - a review..

First off then I should be precise and say that this is a review of the book rather than the recent BBC series based on the book (and the stress is important as we shall see)... I'll also fess up (as our American friends are want to say) and admit that I've not been a fan of  Le Carre's written output up until now (give away..  ) but his books do make extraordinarily good films..

This is the first book of his that I've read that I actually enjoyed - usually I end up putting them down as his writing style is very dense; you have to pay attention while you read otherwise you miss important clues to the story - in the past I've always thought he was being overly clever, but I'll admit I enjoyed this...

Without wanting to give away the story I'll also say I enjoyed the slight differences and dissimilarities between the book and the TV series because they aren't the same story - I'd say the TV series was about 80%+ faithful to the book - and in the book Le Carre indicates he didn't have much to do with the TV series but my assesmnet was he was broadly happy with it...

So why did I read it? Basically because I enjoyed the TV series immensely - it was more Bond than Bond to be honest.. the character of Dickie Roper (the main protagonist and played by Hugh Laurie who is a damn fine actor) is the best depiction of a Bond villain I've seen possibly since Blofeld...  as for Hiddlestone if he doesn't get the Bond bag there's no justice in the world...  ah, and then there's Elizabeth Debicki (the love interest - Roper's mistress), she was enough to make me pick the book up on her own... ()

Throw in two of the best character actors currently working (Olivia Coleman and Tom Hollander) and there's a sure fire recipe for success..  that worked on multiple levels..

So how did the book measure up? Very well actually - it is a subtly different story, and the ending is completely different, but the major players are all present and I could see the actors from the BBC series in my minds eye when I was reading..  how was it in comparison the TV series? I give the TV series 9, and the book 8..  well worth reading - but be warned , it's a biggy!


  1. Unusual to find someone else who's less than impressed with Mr Le Carre - I think his earlier books were overly complicated (and SO slow) whilst the later ones are generally so skewed by his simplistic anti-American prejudice as to be unreadable. Oddly, I rather enjoyed the BBC Radio Drama versions! I don't think I'll risk "The Night Manager" - I too enjoyed the TV version. It looked very good (not just Miss Debicki) but suffered from the usual BBC problem of too little story crammed into too many episodes?

    1. Cheers Jeremy.. I've tried a number of his books and always struggled for the reasons you describe mostly..overly complicated and a bit slow... this one was not, so should you feel inclined it's worth a punt.. the TV series was very good, for me the pace was good, funnily enough if they'd stuck to the book it might not have been quite so frenetic, as the BBC (bless 'em) felt the need to inject an extra two plot twists not in the book... :o)

  2. I enjoyed it as well, but felt like the end was a bit too neat, and a lot of ugly possible complications got wished away. Agree with you that the next Bond casting is pretty clear.