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Now A Major Motion Picture From Fernando Meirelles, The Academy Award Nominated Director Of City Of God The Constant Gardener Is A Magnificent Exploration Of The New World Order By One Of The Most Compelling And Elegant Storytellers Of Our Time The Novel Opens In Northern Kenya With The Gruesome Murder Of Tessa Quayle Young, Beautiful, And Dearly Beloved To Husband Justin When Justin Sets Out On A Personal Odyssey To Uncover The Mystery Of Her Death, What He Finds Could Make Him Not Only A Suspect Among His Own Colleagues, But A Target For Tessa S Killers As Well A Master Chronicler Of The Betrayals Of Ordinary People Caught In Political Conflict, John Le Carre Portrays The Dark Side Of Unbridled Capitalism As Only He Can In The Constant Gardener He Tells A Compelling, Complex Story Of A Man Elevated Through Tragedy As Justin Quayle Amateur Gardener, Aging Widower, And Ineffectual Bureaucrat Discovers His Own Natural Resources, And The Extraordinary Courage Of The Woman He Barely Had Time To Love Despite the fact that the plot held little or no surprises for me, I still enjoyed The Constant Gardener immensely I found it an interesting read, mostly on the strength of its writing and character portrayal Quite early on, I realized that I can predict pretty much everything, the themes as well as the events that were to take place, but as it happens, it didn t bother me that much I didn t predict the ending precisely, but I imagined something along the lines of it A fitting ending for this one, I d say I found it really refreshing the way this novel openly criticizes the was corrupt Western governments collaborate with the corrupt African governments It is as they say, crime has no nationality There is a good deal of social satire in this one John le Caree espouses the false humanitarians for what they are, for example the way Western countries get rid of their old medicines medical waste is very expensive to get rid of by sending it to developing countries I have no issues believing that since the West was only happy to dump their old medical supplies in ex Yugoslavia when it fell apart in the nineties If they do that in Europe, on the smallest of pretenses, imagine what they do in Africa where there is constant welfare and not everyone can read the expiry date This novel offers a bit of a pessimistic view of mankind, but that doesn t make it any less an objective one The novel opens with a murder of Tessa, a young and beautiful wife of a Justin, a British diplomat with a good heart, a man mostly busy composing humanitarian committee reports nobody reads His late wife was a lot active it seems Tessa openly criticized any trace of corruption she saw both in Kenya s and her own government Who is to blame for her death Was it an accident of sorts One of Africa s unsurprising murders Or was it ordered by enemies in high places It s not most eventful or dynamic of spy novels, a good portion of it being an examination of characters It s psychological but personally I don t mind that.The portrayal of characters was done extremely well The dialogues are masterfully written John writes not only with words that characters says, but with the pauses between their words as well You get an impression he studied Chekhov That being said, this novel could have been shorter It was also overwritten Plus, there were some inconsistencies I find it hard to believe that the protagonist Justin doesn t know how to use a laptop It is not like he is in his nineties Anyhow, some small illogical things a a bit of overwriting aside, it really is a good read. Let me begin by saying that this book is not just a thriller It is much than that In the guise of a thriller the novel tells the story of how money and power can crush the voices of the good people who try to fight injustice.The story begins with a scene in the British High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya The Head of Chancery, Sandy Woodrow, is informed about the murder of Tessa Quayle a humanitarian and wife of a British diplomat, Justin Quayle, posted in the High Commission.Justin is ourconstant gardenera man wholoves nothing better than toiling in the flowerbeds on a Saturday afternoon a gentleman , whatever that means the right sort of Etonian, courteous to a fault I personally found Tessa to be the most striking character in the novel We start knowing about her in flashbacks A beautiful, young woman who was born in a wealthy family, Tessa had no interest in enjoying her wealth She was a true believer in justice and humanity, a person who fought against the mighty corporates that were exploiting the most vulnerable sections of the Africans These corporates were using the poor defenseless Africans as guinea pigs while they tried their drug on them, before the said medication could be launched in the lucrative markets of the West The deaths of the victims were a thing to be brushed under the carpet.Tessa s fight brought her in conflict with a pharma giant, and guess what the corrupt Kenyan government and the British government were not only mute spectators to this crime, but in collusion with ensuring that the affair did not come to light.Tessa was murdered while travelling with Dr Arnold Bluhm, a charismatic Belgian black who was her fellow activist and supposed lover Arnold would go missing, and the powers that be would put the blame on this gentleman s shoulders.The callous press would have a field day in tarnishing the image of this good man, and Justin would emerge as a cuckolded husband After all, Tessa was much younger than Justin and Arnold was her close friend and confidant.Tessa s death would make Justin embark on a journey to carry on with Tessa s fight against injustice and in the course he would also learn so much about his late wife Justin, the mild gentleman, would go AWOL, learn to live like a spy and travel across continents trying to collect evidence He would be helped by some really brave individuals, who were themselves harassed and persecuted for protesting against the pharma giant The pharma giant won t sit idle using their influence with the government, hackers and thugs they would try to destroy all evidence against them, attack Justin in an effort to stop him But, deriving strength from the memory of his wife Justin would soldier on.The book talks about a very serious issue in the form of a thriller and is superbly written with complex characterizations and clever plotting The author says that the book is a result of extensive research It did drag a bit at times, but I am fine with that Le Carre is famous for his Cold War novels, but this one is excellent The author admits that he is not against pharmas They do a lot of good too, he also says thatmy story is as tame as a holiday postcard If you are looking for ahigh octane adrenaline pumpingadventure, then book is not for you It is the moving tale of one man s quest for justice and a feeling of bereavement pervades the narrative.I would recommend this novel to people who love reading good books. The most peaceble people will do the most terrible things when they re pushedJohn le Carr , The Constant GardenerI have been a little reluctant to read le Carr s post Cold War, post Smiley novels Part of my reluctance was borne of some false assumption that le Carr s masterpieces were mostly weighted towards the front end of his brilliant career The Constant Gardener blew all my assumptions up It is amazing how le Carr can write such a masterful novel and such a popular book Many of the MFA literary novels published during the last thirty years will quickly slump and dissolve into the dust of mediocrity, but I am certain this novel along with many of le Carr s earlier novels the Perfect Spy, the Karla Trilogy, the Spy Who Came in From the Cold, the Russia House WILL be read in three hundred years.Le Carr is amazing He doesn t fall into the easy path Yes, Big Pharma is bad, but not in some monolithic caricatured way It doesn t just do evil, but does many things that are good This is le Carr s style There is infinite shading that he does with EVERYTHING Each character is shaded, and mirrors each other character Some characters are flipped, some are mirrored, some are distortions, but each character is complicated, nuanced and difficult to view from one position Le Carr writes with an artistry that makes it impossible to not love the good, despite their faults, and still appreciate the human like frailties of the bad.A good friend of mine who has ghostwritten several bestsellers the last couple years calls this novel the greatest love story of the last fifty years I find that claim difficult to dispute It isn t a traditional love story, and not exactly a happy love story, but it is an amazing story of loyalty, love and understanding that leaves the reader both tired and sated.If one day I discovered I could write a novel that was just 1 2 as good as The Constant Gardener , I would think I had been blessed with a masterpiece. Bell 1 2.