Monday, 29 January 2018

The Night Manager by John le Carré


"Severe bruising of the testicles following attempted castration with the toe cap of a heavy training boot"

Did you like my choice of quote? Perhaps not. Anyway, if you know me, you'll probably know my deep seeded love of spy novels and ambitions dated from Roger Moore era James Bond movies to be a man eating spy. Fear not, dear reader, these notions are pure fantasy. What I do love about Le Carré is the way he weaves gritty realism into his novels. While they might be peopled with international n'er do wells, they represent the over entitled one percenters who lack a moral compass and have the means to enact insidious evil.  That makes for fascinating reading. Roper is one such character.

Now unfortunately I made the mistake of watching the miniseries first. It was beautifully filmed and Hiddleston and Laurie make an indelible impression.I love that word, indelible. I blame Jean Jacques Goldman, Puisque tu pars,  for that. It was a song I had to study for year twelve french, clearly I digress.

Back to the book, I recommend reading it before watching the small screen adaptation as there are significant changes. Who would have thought? A screenplay that diverges from the book - yes it is rather commonplace. My aim is usually to read the source material first. That being said, I couldn't say no to Mr Hiddleston. Weirdly though, in real life I suspect he would be the exact opposite of my actual type.

Jonathan Pine, the protagonist, strikes me as rather more of a heavy than the actor who portrays him in the miniseries. There are many more changes as well, but back to the book. It is engrossing and a novel I knocked over with very limited reading time. Fabulously paced,  genuine thriller with edge and excitement. The layering of personalities which is pivotal in adopting a faux persona to ingratiate oneself and spy within the inner circle of a dangerous man is well rendered and exciting.

5 out of 5 dangerous circumstances require dangerous folk.

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