Tessa Quayle has been horribly murdered on the shores of Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya, the birthplace of mankind. Her putative African lover, a doctor with one of the aid agencies, has disappeared. Her husband, Justin, a career diplomat and amateur gardener at the British High Commission in Nairobi, sets out on a personal odyssey in pursuit of ...
Tessa Quayle has been horribly murdered on the shores of Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya, the birthplace of mankind. Her putative African lover, a doctor with one of the aid agencies, has disappeared. Her husband, Justin, a career diplomat and amateur gardener at the British High Commission in Nairobi, sets out on a personal odyssey in pursuit of the killers and their motive. His quest takes him to the Foreign Office in London, across Europe and Canada and back to Africa, to the depths of South Sudan, and finally to the very spot where Tessa died. On his way Justin meets terror, violence, laughter, conspiracy and knowledge. But his greatest discovery is the woman he barely had time to love.
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With "The Constant Gardener," John le Carré proves that he is just as masterful in the realms of modern politics as he was with those of the Cold War. However, politics are only a small part of this novel. This is a tragic, moving portrait of a man elevated beyond himself by grief. I found myself completely caught up in Justin's transformation from a nothing of a bureaucrat to an intensely driven crusader for truth.
The novel also examines that little concept of faith, whether it is faith in the spouse everyone thinks is adulterous, or faith that her theories were more than just crackpot liberalism, or faith that a life of previous ineffectuality can still amount to something.
I highly recommend this book.
Apr 29, 2008
John le Carre's "The Constant Gardener" is one more of his works affirming his stature as a keen observer of the human condition. Many of his most successful novels have certainly revolved around the world of spies and covert activity. He doesn't disappoint here but his focus is more upon character delineation. George Smiley lived for us on television, of course, yet most all of this master writer's characters spring to life in our mind's eye. He persuades us to embrace his world and, no matter what plot twists he provides us with, le Carre draws us into caring about his people.
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