Customer Reviews for

The Constant Gardener

Average Rating 4
( 33 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2001

    'A Great Crime'

    The English Gardener is the most unusual and darkest of all the Le Carre novels, exceeding even The Little Drummer Girl in these regards. This book has more in common with Heart of Darkness than with the George Smiley spy novels, yet there are some stylistic carry-overs from the cold war books. Despite all of The English Gardener's emotionally disturbing features, there is beauty here . . . the beauty of idealism, love, and honor. Even in the densest, most forbidding jungle, wild flowers will relieve the darkness and provide hope. Every reader will be challenged to her or his core by the thought, 'You think you're solving the world's problems but actually you're the problem.' Before describing the novel in more detail, let me caution all of those who are easily upset by the human ability to be inhumane, that this book teems with incidents of inhumanity in many of its worst forms. The emotional impact of this novel is intense and lasting. You may well have dreams (or nightmares) about it. On the surface, the book is a detective story. Fragmentary reports and rumors seep in of a horrific and mysterious murder in Kenya of Tessa Quayle, the young newly-wed wife of a middle-aged British diplomat, Justin Quayle. Everyone knows more than they are telling, and seems to want to hush matters up except for two young English investigators. The press soon is having a field day making speculations about what Tessa was doing traveling under her maiden name with a black Doctor and sharing a room with him. Yet appearances are deceiving, and Justin soon begins to unravel an international plot of insidious proportions. Tessa was a lawyer, and she had stumbled across 'a great crime.' Because of her husband's diplomatic role, they had agreed that she should pursue her investigation without involving him. 'She follows her conscience. I get on with my job.' As a result, he remained in his domesticated garden of diplomatic activity while she was stalking big game in the jungle of corporate greed. With her death, he leaves the garden of Eden having eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, and follows her pathway. Many people will find that the plot moves too slowly for them. After 30 percent of the book, you will already have figured out the mystery of 'a great crime' (even if someone doesn't tell you the plot in advance as some reviewers may do). Clearly, the book could have been shortened by 100 to 150 pages without losing any important material from my perspective. While you are dragging through document after document, keep in mind the benefits of Le Carre's approach. One reason for this extra length is because Le Carre provides elaborate raw detail, so that the reader feels like he or she is Justin and pursuing the wrong-doing directly. Another benefit of this bulk is that readers who may not be familiar with the details of pharmaceutical research, political lobbying, and business promotional practices will avoid being lost by the story. If you are familiar with this type of information, the story will definitely drag. Another reason for the involved material is that Le Carre is painting with a very broad brush and wants to be sure that you know that he is

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2005

    Our friends, the pharmaceutical companies

    are the bad guys here. I read this book three years ago, and passed it on to a friend. Not as great a work of art as THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, this is still well worth the read. Especially in light of the killing being made at the moment by drug cartels and NGOs from AIDS in Africa. Kind of makes you wonder, who are the real modern cannibals?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2005

    style of 'aid' the West gives Africa

    Not his best book, but still a good read. If you like spy/mystery you must read his book 'Absolute Friends.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2001

    Held my interest till the end

    I really enjoyed this book. I felt I was learning about 3rd world countries and the way companies use them as guinea pigs for the advancement of the almighty dollar. The storyline held my interest till the end

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2014

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    Posted March 1, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

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