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2018 Summer of SpiesSo its summer, finally and at last, here in the Great White North It s time for some summer fun reading about espionage This is my first venture into Le Carr s work and I enjoyed it.I had expected a rather light frothy thriller and instead I got a serious examination of big pharma its use of the unfortunate as test subjects and its desire to put profit well ahead of human kindness Also explored is the nature of colonialism in Kenya, reminding me a bit of The P2018 Summer of SpiesSo its summer, finally and at last, here in the Great White North It s time for some summer fun reading about espionage This is my first venture into Le Carr s work and I enjoyed it.I had expected a rather light frothy thriller and instead I got a serious examination of big pharma its use of the unfortunate as test subjects and its desire to put profit well ahead of human kindness Also explored is the nature of colonialism in Kenya, reminding me a bit of The Poisonwood Bible Heavy subjects for a popular novel I also got a reminder on the nature of marriage those of us on the outside of a marriage really have no idea what s happening on the inside On the outside, Sandy and Gloria Woodrow look like the stable, steady couple and Justin and Tessa Quayle look like a precarious, unmatched union The book begins from Sandy Woodrow s point of view and quickly disabuses the reader of the notion that his marriage is solid Woodrow s constant search for sex outside his marriage was tiresome and it was a relief when I reached the point where Le Carr switched to Justin s POV There we discover that, far from being unstable, Justin and Tessa trusted and loved each other a great deal.Thereafter followed the labyrinthine machinations that I had been expecting Who knows what, who is hiding something, what can be done about it all I can definitely see why The Guardian lists it as one of their 1000 recommended books A story of tragedy and intrigue that unfolds from the first page to the last, The Constant Gardener is an incredible story of love and loyalty Justin Quayle is a quiet, reserved man, necessarily conservative in his behavior as befits a British diplomat, while his wife Tessa can barely restrain her zeal for reforming a corrupt system where the victims are poor women and children.Justin had always stayed out of the activist part of Tessa s life And she had always protected him and his diplomatic A story of tragedy and intrigue that unfolds from the first page to the last, The Constant Gardener is an incredible story of love and loyalty Justin Quayle is a quiet, reserved man, necessarily conservative in his behavior as befits a British diplomat, while his wife Tessa can barely restrain her zeal for reforming a corrupt system where the victims are poor women and children.Justin had always stayed out of the activist part of Tessa s life And she had always protected him and his diplomatic career from it This all changes when Tessa is murdered, and Justin is overwhelmed by a tragic loss He feels the necessity of unraveling the reasons and the people involved in his wife s death, learning things he never knew about her when she was alive, globetrotting as a pseudo spy What he uncovers is nothing less than the dark side of global capitalism.But the love story is merely a vehicle for what Le Carr really wants to express an impassioned tirade against Big Pharma s unscrupulous scheming involving Third World populations, the soulless lack of ethics of the post modern capitalist world For that reason, I found this to be the most fervent and angry of any Le Carr novels I ve read In my version of the book, this is confirmed by a postscript of the author ranting about this issue Clearly, the work was very personal A heavy duty read, well worth the effort @KINDLE ¼ The Constant Gardener ¸ 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 One of the reviewers oncomplained that this book had little to do with gardening Good grief I think Le Carre has made the transition from Cold War spy novels to contemporary issue thrillers quite handsomely In this book, he really goes after the pharmaceutical companies, accusing them not only of unethical practices using Africans as guinea pigs, but also suggests they would kill anyone whom might deign to challenge their unholy hegemony.It s also truly a great love story The relatio One of the reviewers oncomplained that this book had little to do with gardening Good grief I think Le Carre has made the transition from Cold War spy novels to contemporary issue thrillers quite handsomely In this book, he really goes after the pharmaceutical companies, accusing them not only of unethical practices using Africans as guinea pigs, but also suggests they would kill anyone whom might deign to challenge their unholy hegemony.It s also truly a great love story The relationship of trust and reliance that emerges gradually through the course of the novel between Tessa and Justin is really wonderful Unusual perhaps striking, nevertheless.This is a tale of grand corruption on an international scale but also a celebration albeit tragic of the idealistic individual But I warn you, it s a dark tale I love John le Carr That is all. Like most John Le Carre film adaptions I ve seen, the Constant Gardener is a good one In fact i don t believe I ve experienced a bad Ralph Fiennes or Rachel Weisz film so congrats on the casting choices.The plot isn t the usual cold war international spy story like his novels of the past The Constant Gardener is set in Kenya and follows the fall out of the murder of Tessa Quayle, the activist wife of British Diplomat, Justin Quayle What initially appears to be a thoughtless murder soon turns Like most John Le Carre film adaptions I ve seen, the Constant Gardener is a good one In fact i don t believe I ve experienced a bad Ralph Fiennes or Rachel Weisz film so congrats on the casting choices.The plot isn t the usual cold war international spy story like his novels of the past The Constant Gardener is set in Kenya and follows the fall out of the murder of Tessa Quayle, the activist wife of British Diplomat, Justin Quayle What initially appears to be a thoughtless murder soon turns into a conspiracy involving the shady dealings of a Big Pharma Corporation and corrupt Government officials The story is told lineally but there are flash backs of Tessa before she was killed.The research effort for this book was clearly extensive and comes through brilliantly in the writing I d never considered Kenya or corrupt pharmaceutical deals before but this was an eye opener and in his afterword John Le Carre describes the events in the book as childs play compared to some of the findings of his research I will definitely be exploring this subject further.The main focus is Justin s investigation into Tessa s death as he isn t willing to accept the official government version He acquaints himself with Tessa s research and contacts and digs up some skulduggery that reaches beyond Kenya and England For the majority the story is a page turner as theJustin uncovers theintriguing it becomes and bizarrely enough it was only toward the end when it starts to become clear what really happened that i began to lose interest The ending is a mix of uncovering the truth and some random waffle , which he could have left out I also didn t get enough emotional loss out of Justin When he s talking about his grief to other characters i didn t really believe him Other than these two minor gripes it s a good book and i ll certainly be reading his other non cold war novelsI m an Oswald man, Justin Lee Harvey Oswald shot John F Kennedy Nobody helped him do it There comes a moment after all the fantasising when we re reduced to accepting the obvious I made rapid progress through this long book thanks to an intriguing plot, empathy with the protagonists, a serious socio political backdrop and plenty of interesting peripheral characters.Le Carre has been very careful to make Tessa and her husband Justin humble, passionate and self effacing, since the role of White Saviour in Africa is, to say the least, problematic Tessa is almost beyond reproach, and the book was overly morally comfortable for me with its predictably ignorant, self interest I made rapid progress through this long book thanks to an intriguing plot, empathy with the protagonists, a serious socio political backdrop and plenty of interesting peripheral characters.Le Carre has been very careful to make Tessa and her husband Justin humble, passionate and self effacing, since the role of White Saviour in Africa is, to say the least, problematic Tessa is almost beyond reproach, and the book was overly morally comfortable for me with its predictably ignorant, self interested colonial officials, dubiously spiritual white aid workers, insidiously amoral big pharma, naive but intelligent and incorruptible mixed race admin staff, prophetic African wise women and so on, and even the pessimistic conclusion had me nodding sagely along, emotionally affected but unperturbed in my beliefsAs critique perhaps this is unfair there is enough discomfort in this sad book to make it a good and serious read, and doubtless its targets are broadly the right ones But the message I took, and felt dissatisfied with, was that the well meaning white person that scourge of the Earth that is every irresponsible and ignorant one of us is off the hook, and in any case helpless, in the face of corporate injustice in Africa 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 thi 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 lotactive 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 spsychological 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 The most peaceble people will do the most terrible things when they re pushedJohn le Carr , The Constant Gardener I 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 ManThe most peaceble people will do the most terrible things when they re pushedJohn le Carr , The Constant Gardener I 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 So far, out of all the LeCarre books that I have read at this point, this has been one of my favourites It was a very heart wrenching story that featured a journey And that journey was a man discovering how much his late wife truly loved him And the work she was partaking in that she kept hidden from him Going through this journey he loved her even.It was also a novel of intrigue and espionage based around the pharma industry in Africa.Try and find a copy of this incredible story.