- Paperback: 592 pages
- Publisher: Sceptre; 01 edition (21 Sept. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0340937726
- ISBN-13: 978-0340937723
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Constant Gardener Paperback – 21 Sep 2006
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
There were those who feared that the end of the Cold War would deal a fatal blow to the creativity of many first-rate thriller writers who specialised in this territory. In the case of John le Carré, this would have meant the loss of not only Britain's finest thriller writer, but a serious novelist of quite as much literary gravitas as any of his mainstream contemporaries. Certainly, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold remains as utterly compelling today as when it was written, whereas such post-cold war le Carré themes as financial double-dealing seemed to inspire him less than the world of shifting identity he had dealt in so skilfully. But with The Constant Gardener, we have the author once again firing on all cylinders. The characterisation is as elegant and expressive as ever, the prose as limpid and forceful. But, most of all, le Carré has found a theme quite as pregnant as any he has handled in the past: the malign, deceptively ameliorative world of global pharmaceuticals. In the new novel, the customary themes of betrayal and danger are explored in a narrative that exerts a total grip throughout its considerable length. His protagonist, Justin Quayle, is an unreflective British diplomat whose job in the British High Commission in Nairobi suggests one of Graham Greene's dispossessed protagonists trying to survive in the sultry corruption of foreign climates. President Arap Moi's Kenya is a country in the grip of AIDS, while political machinations maintain a deadly status quo. When Quayle's wife (who has taken more interest in what is happening around her than her husband) is killed, his investigation of her murder leads him into a murky web of exploitation involving Kenyan greed and a major pharmaceutical company eager to promote its "wonder cure" for tuberculosis. As Quayle looks deeper into the company which his wife had been investigating, all he has carefully built around him begins to crumble. The steady accumulation of tension and rigorous delineation of character is emblematic of le Carré at his finest, and it is a tremendous pleasure to find the author so resolutely back on form, fired with a real sense of anger at the duplicity of the modern world:
"Specious, unadulterated, pompous Foreign Office bullshit, if you want its full name... trade isn't making the poor rich. Profits don't buy reforms. They buy corrupt government officials and Swiss bank accounts".--Barry Forshaw (This Review refers to the hardback edition of this title) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Praise for The Constant Gardener (:)
The master storyteller...has lost none of his cunning (A. N. Wilson, Daily Mail)
The book breathes life, anger and excitement (Nigel Williams, Observer)
A cracking thriller (Economist)
Nobody writing today manipulates suspense better. Nobody constructs a more tantalisingly complex plot . . . essential reading (Chris Woodhead, Sunday Telegraph)
'Richly detailed, full of righteous fire to offset its desperate prognosis, The Constant Gardener is a very impressive piece of work. It is certainly one of John le Carré's best books' (The Times Literary Supplement)
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top Customer Reviews
It seems to me that Mr Le Carre has relied on a very dated and perfunctory experience of life in Africa to build a 500 page book that just does not ring true. A novel for a novel's sake. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had been ignorant of the real life in Africa.
The story is set largely in post colonial Kenya, and centres on the brutal death of Tessa, the wife of a Foreign Office official. She's no ordinary FO type wife; she's intelligent, singular and dedicated. She's uncovered some unsavoury facts around the distribution and use of a miracle drug. Suffice to say, the interests of the pharma industry, as always, are paramount and the welfare of disadvantaged but desperate people in third world areas are fully exploited for profit.
Carré's books have moved with the times. He's not stuck in the spy genre. In my view, he's possibly the best living British novelist and I find it surprising that he's not widely recognised and nominated for literary prizes. He's possibly too successful and popular to deemed worthy of literary merit, but his writing is always relevant. Satisfyingly complex plot, acutely observed characters, a sardonic sense of humour and exposure of moral duplicity, he's never boring. He excels at the dialogue and duplicity of Foreign Office officials, at home and abroad. He's succinct in social settings which pinpoint pretensions and self aggrandisement.
I bought the Audible version of this book, brilliantly narrated by Michael Jayston and I enjoyed every minute. It's an excellent read.
The story follows Justin trying to trace the killers of his wife Tessa. We get to know Tessa through her husbands flashbacks and the story is written from a the point of view of a number of different characters. It is set in Kenya, England and Italy. It is essentially a love story but also a mystery.
The author writes in a way that keeps you turning pages to find the next twist in the plot. I think not seeing the film first would make the book even more gripping to read. The authors style is fantastic, not giving too much away too soon and leaving some of the story to the readers imagination. Its not the type of book I normally read and I thought it may be heavy going, I was pleasantly surprised. A fantastic story with a gripping end. I cannot reccomend it highly enough.
Le Carre presents the action from the viewpoint of a number of different characters, from the corrupted, compromised and innocent, to the driven and committed seekers of truth. By the end of this twisting novel, the reader comes to recognise just how elusive this truth can be, and how misrepresented in endless situations it may be. Tessa, the dead wife, is slowly developed through the testimony of the other main characters, and is one of these admirable seekers of truth and justice, whose ghost haunts everyone's recollections. Additionally, we identify with Justin Quayle, her husband, who moves from a shadowy, peripheral figure at first to a relentless avenging angel, as he crosses the globe to uncover the truth.
Perhaps too many perspectives/switches of character hinder the momentum of the plot at times, but this is a powerful novel about individual and corporate corruption, nakedly exposed as Justin methodically strips away the lies and excuses, and the reader identifies with his subtly-drawn character, and wills him to succeed. The downbeat ending is exactly right in tone, and reflects the way the world is in reality, rather than how we might wish it to be. An engaging, sobering and thoughful read throughout. Recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An enjoyable book, John Le Carre doesn't disappoint. A tale of conspiracy entwined with a loving marriage and the things you keep back to protect your family.Published 5 months ago by S. C. O'brien
Not a book to keep you reading but still a good plot. A very plausible story even today.Published 7 months ago by Les
Our book club read. Very well written but it seemed to be padded out in the middle.Published 8 months ago by penrhynian
It's hard to see how Le Carré maintains this level of extraordinary pace, character development, and sheer rage at the establishment at this stage in his career. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Simon Harrison
My first Lewis Carre novel. Current and closer to home than you feel comfortable thinking about. A great read. Think Robert Ludlum but English and therefore more real. Read morePublished 11 months ago by michael doyle
This book is unputdownable. It is about love and conscience and draws attention to how we think we are being honourable by merely doing our job well when in fact we are closing our... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kindle Customer