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Synopsis: Frightening, heartbreaking, and exquisitely calibrated, John le Carre's new novel opens with the gruesome murder of the young and beautiful Tessa Quayle near northern Kenya's Lake Turkana, the birthplace of mankind. Her putative African lover and traveling companion, a doctor with one of the aid agencies, has vanished from the scene of the crime. Tessa's much older husband, Justin, a career diplomat at the British High Commission in Nairobi, sets out on a personal odyssey in pursuit of the killers and their motive. A master chronicler of the deceptions and betrayals of ordinary people caught in political conflict, le Carre portrays, in "The Constant Gardener," the dark side of unbridled capitalism. His eighteenth novel is also the profoundly moving story of a man whom tragedy elevates. Justin Quayle, amateur gardener and ineffectual bureaucrat, seemingly oblivious to his wife's cause, discovers his own resources and the extraordinary courage of the woman he barely had time to love. "The Constant Gardener" is a magnificent exploration of the new world order by one of the most compelling and elegant storytellers of our time.
Review: British diplomat Justin Quayle, complacent raiser of freesias and doting husband of the stunning, much younger Tessa, has tended his own garden in Nairobi too long. Tessa is Justin's opposite, a fiery reformer, "that rarest thing, a lawyer who believes in justice," whose campaigns have earned her a nickname: "the Princess Diana of the African poor." But now Tessa has turned up naked, raped, and dead on a mysterious visit to remote Lake Turkana in Kenya. Her traveling companion (and lover?), the handsome Congolese-Belgian doctor Arnold Bluhm, has vanished. So has Quayle's complacency.
Tessa had been compiling data against a multinational drug company that uses helpless Africans as guinea pigs to test a tuberculosis remedy with unfortunately fatal side effects. Her report was destroyed by her husband's superiors; was she? It's all somehow connected to the sinister British firm House of ThreeBees, whose ad boasts that it's "buzzy for the health of Africa!" John le Carré symbolically associates ThreeBees with an ominous buzz in the Nairobi morgue: "Over [the corpses], in a swaying, muddy mist, hung the flies, snoring on a single note."
The home office tries to take Quayle in out of the cold. He cleverly eludes their clammy embrace, turns spy, and takes off on a global chase to avenge Tessa and solve her murder. Le Carré has lost none of his gift for setting vivid scenes in far-flung places expertly described: London, Germany, Saskatchewan, Kenya. His sprinting thriller prose remains in great shape. And thanks to his 16 years in the British Foreign Office, his merciless send-up of its cutthroat intrigues and petty self-delusions is unbelievably good--or rather, believably so. This is global do-gooder satire on a literary par with Doris Lessing's The Summer Before the Dark.
But you want to know if The Constant Gardener is as good as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Very nearly. Africa's nightmare is more complex than the cold war chess match, and the world pharmaceutical circus is tougher to dramatize than the old spy-versus-spy-versus-spymaster game. Still, le Carré can write a smart, melancholy page-turner, and his moral outrage (the real subject of his books) burns as brightly as ever. --Tim Appelo
Title: The Constant Gardener: A Novel
Publication Date: 2000
Book Condition: Used: Good
Book Description Scribner, 2000. Book Condition: Fair. First Edition. Ships from Reno, NV. Former Library book. Shows definite wear, and perhaps considerable marking on inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP92390713
Book Description Scribner, 2000. Book Condition: Good. First Edition. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP3957096
Book Description Scribner, 2000. Book Condition: Very Good. First Edition. Ships from Reno, NV. Former Library book. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Bookseller Inventory # GRP91900695
Book Description Scribner, 2000. Book Condition: Very Good. First Edition. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Bookseller Inventory # GRP7571614
Book Description Scribner. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. book was well loved but cared for. Possible ex-library copy with all the usual markings and stickers. Some light textual notes, highlighting and underling. Bookseller Inventory # 2725131286
Book Description Scribner. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. Good clean copy with no missing pages might be an ex library copy; Possibly may have minor marginal notes and or highlighting. Bookseller Inventory # 2781683978
Book Description Scribner. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. Gently used may contain ex-library markings, possibly has some minor highlighting, textual notations, and or underlining. Text is still easily readable. Bookseller Inventory # 2784769554
Book Description Scribner. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. Good clean copy with no missing pages might be an ex library copy; Possibly may have minor marginal notes and or highlighting. Bookseller Inventory # 2785859361
Book Description Scribner. Hardcover. Book Condition: VERY GOOD. little to no wear, pages are clean. The cover and binding are crisp with next no creases. Bookseller Inventory # 2786631416
Book Description Scribner, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. All orders are dispatched the following working day from our UK warehouse. Established in 2004, we have over 500,000 books in stock. No quibble refund if not completely satisfied. Bookseller Inventory # mon0002706229