The Night Manager Essay - Critical Essays

John le Carre

The Night Manager

Leaving Cold War tensions behind, John le Carre creates a memorable novel in which adventure, romance, and moral ambiguity become intertwined. In Cairo, soldier-turned-hotelier Jonathan Pine falls in love with the mysterious Sophie, who has stolen documents about Richard Onslow Roper’s arms dealing from her wealthy playboy lover.

Jonathan’s foolish patriotism leads to Sophie’s exposure and murder. Moving to Zurich, he decides to destroy Roper after the arrogant master criminal becomes a guest in the hotel where he is now employed.

A complicated series of maneuvers involving a series of fake identities leads him inside Roper’s Caribbean enclave. There, the almost fatally romantic Jonathan falls in love with Jed, Roper’s mistress. Meanwhile, Leonard Burr, the spy in charge of the Roper operation, attempts to protect his agent from the effects of the political infighting in the higher echelons of British intelligence. When Jonathan is eventually betrayed to Roper, Burr must decide between capturing the arms dealer and saving his agent.

As in THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL (1983) and THE RUSSIA HOUSE (1989), le Carre seems almost as interested in his protagonist’s love life as in espionage. This side of THE NIGHT MANAGER often threatens to topple the novel into mediocrity, but le Carre rights himself whenever he turns to the bureaucratic machinations back at Whitehall, which recall the Smiley novels at their best.

Sources for Further Study

Chicago Tribune. June 20, 1993, XIV, p.1.

The Christian Science Monitor. July 30, 1993, p.14.

Los Angeles Times Book Review. June 27, 1993, p.1.

The New Republic. CCIX, August 9, 1993, p.35.

The New York Review of Books. XL, August 12, 1993, p.20.

The New York Times Book Review. XCVIII, June 27, 1993, p.1.

Time. CXLII, July 12, 1993, p.58.

The Times Literary Supplement. July 2, 1993, p.21.

The Wall Street Journal. June 30, 1993, p. A12.

The Washington Post Book World. XXIII, July 4, 1993, p.7.