Read The Constant Gardener by John le Carré Online


The Constant Gardener is the profoundly moving story of a man whom tragedy elevates. The 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 muchThe Constant Gardener is the profoundly moving story of a man whom tragedy elevates. The 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 Quayle, amateur gardener and ineffectual bureaucrat, sets out on a personal odyssey in pursuit of the killers and their motive, and discovers his own resources and the extraordinary courage of the woman he barely had time to love....

Title : The Constant Gardener
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780340733530
Format Type : e-Book
Number of Pages : 401 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Constant Gardener Reviews

  • Darwin8u
    2019-06-20 08:52

    “The most peaceble people will do the most terrible things when they're pushed.” ― John le Carré, The Constant GardenerI have been a little reluctant to read le Carré's post-Cold War, post-Smiley novels. Part of my reluctance was borne of some false assumption that le Carré'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 Carré 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 Carré'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 Carré 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 Carré'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 Carré 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.

  • Solistas
    2019-06-16 10:49

    Πολυπρόσωπη, καθηλωτική αφήγηση απ'τον μαιτρ στα καλύτερά του. Στα συν η Κένυα που βρίσκεται στο προσκήνιο (κ είναι η χώρα-κόλλημα φέτος), ότι είχα στα χέρια μου ένα ταλαίπωρο Bellάκι που είχα βρει για 1ε στην Αμοργό πριν 2 χρόνια (τα είχα βρει σχεδόν όλα) κ ότι δεν θυμόμουν τίποτα απ'την ταινία κ το διάβαζα με κομμένη την ανάσα.Απίθανο.

  • Eric_W
    2019-06-05 11:03

    One of the reviewers on Amazon complained 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.

  • Zanna
    2019-05-22 08:41

    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 beliefs...As 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.

  • Kaitlin Turner
    2019-06-10 02:56

    My first impression of the book was not good. The beginning was slow, and seemed like something my Dad might read; something mundane and unoriginal with cheap thrills. I kept on though, and soon found myself completely enthralled. I could not have been more wrong. Not only does The Constant Gardener deliver clever suspense and thrills, but it also has a strong emotional pull. The strongest part of the book is probably its intelligent and complex plot which involves major pharmaceutical companies. I was both compelled and horrified by what I learned about pharmaceutical companies. Furthermore, the book holds a lot of cultural analysis, which I found to be both true and insightful.Le Carre has an incredible strength for details which not only allows the plot to soar, but also gives the reader incredibly scenery and characterization. This strength for details is also what allows him to give such strong and interesting cultural analysis, and make it seem like you can actually see all of the interactions taking place. I couldn't recommend this book more.

  • Bmbs
    2019-06-19 06:43

    In the 60’s I distinctly remember reading two of the authors earlier books, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and the Looking Glass War. With no pun intended I read them in a small town in Germany, a town located not too far distant from where the fictitious events of the stories took place. They were really good books.Returning to him some 40 years later proved, for me, something of a disappointment. There is only a fleeting reference to gardening so horticulturist need not get their hopes up but the subject matter of the book is interesting enough and although it is a work of fiction I am sure, as the book points out, that there is indeed a dark underside to the multi national pharmaceutical industry. One that might be uncomfortable for us, the consumers, to know about. However if it was his intention to enlighten us then a one hour TV documentary would have done the job better as at 508 pages it’s about 100 too long. I skipped 20 of the last 25 and I don’t believe I missed out on much.I didn’t find the characters too believable, far too many of them anyway, and the way we are asked to believe that a husband, a high ranking diplomat, had no idea that his wife was rampaging through Kenya righting wrongs on behalf of us all, without him having any knowledge of her activities is quite absurd. Might be one of those rare occasions when the film is better than the book.

  • Sheila
    2019-06-04 05:03

    My first Le Carre, so I was expecting to be thrilled, something cat-and-mouse type of story. After all, someone killed Justin Quayle's wife while she's on a perfectly justifiable, if not very dangerous mission. And it was not a quick death like an assassination----she was stripped naked, possibly raped, had bruises all over her body, and her throat was slashed. Meaning: It's the kind of injustice that forces Justin to go on a global hunt for the answers. But the ending is just too sad for me. Too pessimistic. It's Thomas Hardy without a touch of beauty of realism. What was the point of having Justin suffer the same bruises along the way if someone else will have to fight for him too in the end? But...I must remember myself. I haven't written 18 books like John Le Carre on the year he published The Constant Gardener. There are some good things about the novel. One of them is Justin himself, who talks to the ghost of his wife and summons her from memory while on his deceitful journey. It reveals the relationship they had, her secrecy, his adoration, their ordinary, but now tender moments. Other characters are interesting in that they are not there to serve as background. They actually do something to move the story. As for Africa itself as the location, Le Carre satisfies us with lots of usual imagery from the loyal servants, the bereaved and disadvantaged youth, to the suffering African women. But the book is not about Africa. It's about Justin, the wronged man and husband, and a reluctant spy. Is it a story of bravery and passion as he becomes determined to walk in the way that his wife once walked? Yes. Is it a story on how to fight corrupt multinational corporations? No. Definitely not. There's this part where Justin meets Tessa's contact in Hippo (Hippocrates) and he laughs when he sees her carrying her toddler on her bike---he wasn't expecting to be an Uncle for the afternoon. I like Justin laughing even if he's grieving. He's a likable character, which makes me sad more. Le Carre has been likened to Charles Dickens, which makes him a writer to read if only to draw comparisons and distinctions. Meaning: He owns the space for 3 to 5 more books on my shelf. Book RaveI know the film. Haven't watched it. But I saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and I liked the psychological drama, which from experience, is better appreciated when digested in its written form. But what finally persuaded me to grab a copy of this book, ten years after it was published, is the word it used in its back cover: ennobled. I haven't read that word before, not in the few John Grisham and Jeffery Deaver mystery thrillers I've consumed. It excites the lexophile in me. A man ennobled by his wife's tragic murder...I've read that a good writer has this skill of choosing one word instead of another. John Le Carre chose the word ennobled. He chose it well.

  • Fran
    2019-05-31 09:56

    I had never read anything by John Le Carre before. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. He is a masterful writer who develops interesting characters and describes scenes with poetic intensity. This is the sort of book I could see myself rereading in years to come. There is so much in it. Clearly the author is so much more than a spy novelist.

  • Leslie
    2019-05-22 05:58

    One of my favourite Le Carre novels, right up there with The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and the Smiley books. It works on every level: as a thriller, as suspense fiction, as character study, as social and economic critique. Truly moving and compelling.

  • Maura
    2019-05-30 07:05

    I think this is the only time in my life I've actually liked the movie better than the book, but perhaps my expectations were too high (I hadn't read or heard of LeCarré before this). Basically I'd thought that since it was about pharmaceutical company conspiracies to test drugs on poor Africans and kill people who get in their way, I'd love it... I was wrong, but maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised.I felt Le Carré didn't address the pharmaceutical issue with enough depth, and focused too much on making the main character, Justin, run all over the world, trying to solve the mystery of his wife’s murder. I also never really warmed up to Justin; he started out as a spineless bureaucrat, and didn’t develop or grow much—he ended up merely as a regretful spineless bureaucrat. Le Carré also threw in a weird religious character at the end, which felt completely random and disjointed from the rest of the book.Overall, Le Carré’s writing was a bit too Dan Brown-ish for me—meaning that the book was too exciting to put down, but I was constantly irritated by his typical “beautiful smart woman” and “nerdy middle-aged man” characters. If you’re looking for a page-turner, this is definitely worth a read, but if you’re looking for a substantive manifesto against the pharmaceutical industry (and yes, I do realize I might be the only weirdo in the world looking for this in a novel), you’ll be disappointed.

  • Jim
    2019-05-22 08:41

    For tuberculosis sufferers, Dypraxa was supposed to be the Holy Grail. Pharma giant Karel Vita Hudson (KVH) had so much confidence in it coming out of the gate that they made it widely available in Africa, with disastrous results. Tessa Quayle and her friend Arnold Bluhm MD wage a two-man war against the ravages of the drug. When Quayle is murdered and Bluhm disappears, things start to happen. Tessa's husband, John Quayle, a Foreign Office functionary, suddenly disappears and, under false ID, pursues his wife's crusade on his own. The Foreign Office is 100% behind KVH (you know, jobs), and Quayle must avoid his employers as well as KVH's thugs, who are out to get him.Even after the fall of Communism, author John le Carré is able to retain interest in other evil aspects of the global situation, in this case the greed of Big Pharma. The Constant Gardener is one of his best books in this post Berlin Wall era. Smiley might not be involved, but the hitherto mouselike character of John Quayle undergoes a sea change before our eyes, as we follow his footsteps with bated breath.

  • Chris
    2019-06-04 03:46

    Yeah, this isn't the best le Carre. The beginning of the book was quite engrossing, and then it is like it takes a right turn. The husband's investiagtion is just annoying on some levels. 3 stars because of the beginning.

  • Maciek
    2019-06-19 09:41

    I've been hearing great things about John Le Carre, so I picked up The Constant Gardener. I knew nothing about the book, except that it was made into a movie which got good reviews.I can't say I was floored. The plot is pretty transparent to everyone but the protagonist, who would know immediately what's going on if he'd read the back cover blurb. Instead of being a thriller full of unexpected twists and turns, the reader has to wait for the protagonist to catch up. When the plot drags behind the reader, the book soon becomes a tedious, plodding read. I was left hoping for a twist, a surprise of any sort - and there wasn't any. The entire plot relies on the reader's sympathy for the character who cannot guess the obvious. It's difficult to believe his lack of knowledge on certain subjects, such as his wife's activities. Although this is a work of fiction, the approach to the subject was surprisingly superficial and unenlightening. Perhaps I was expecting too much?Pages after pages devoted to characterization soon become redundant when the character's actions did not match the plot. Along with the protagonist, the reader s forced to learn about computers,e-mails, etc...easily 100-150 pages could have been scrapped, and the novel would be much more tight and suspenseful, if predictable. The opening and details of the crime are all well written and saturated with emotion - if only the whole book was like that!To be fair to Le Carre, his writing is elegant and it's obvious that he's a seasoned novelist who knows his chops, though for some reason did not use them here.I will read his other works, but I will not re-read this one. Not a good introduction to the man I'm afraid. 2,5 stars.

  • Krista
    2019-06-12 10:42

    What a tedious read!! This book was about 300 pages too long. The topic should have been interesting but LeCarre found a way to make it boring. I also watched the movie in the hopes that it would improve my opinion of the book. Didn't work.

  • Friederike Knabe
    2019-06-19 09:39

    Where does the creator of George Smiley, expert spy master of the cold war, go find a new theme? Le Carre readers must have asked themselves this question. Fortunately, after a couple of attempts in different directions, Le Carre has found a new cause: Pharmaceutical companies and their dealings, in particular in Africa. He tackles a highly sensitive and complex set of issues. As he says himself in the acknowledgements, in comparison to real life, his revelations are as 'tame as a picture postcard'.We learn about the almost random testing of drugs on innocent Africans who believe that the men in white will cure them. We learn about the multi-national complexities of the pharma industry and the decision makers who are far removed from the African reality. We follow the scientists who, having signed deals with the company, were pressurized to either ignore or falsify the evidence of fatal side effects of the drug under investigation. "The drug is good", says one of the inventors of the drug, " we just did not have enough time to test it out before releasing it." The complete disregard for the lives of human guinea pigs who 'would die anyway' reveals an incredible cynicism of the promoter of the drug in Africa, who repeats 'I love Africa'. The comprehensive network of evidence cover-ups, disappearance of bodies and destruction of records, paints a bleak picture of the goings-on in a country like Kenya. The deals made by the Foreign Service in London as well as Nairobi, bring a touch of familiarity to the intrigue and the plot. It is a novel, let's not forget it, although the Kenyan reality is pretty realistically drawn with corruption in the system, the readiness of the governments to strike deals with multinationals, etc. Le Carre is true to his reputation as an expert in character development. With fine attention to detail, he creates a set of characters who are as much stereotypes of British Foreign and Secret Service operating in Africa as they are real and complex individuals. The most intriguing character and the one who will attract most compassion from the reader, lives only through the descriptions, dialogues and daydreams of others. She lived life fully until caught up in the drug scandal. We know early on what happened to her, but Le Carre builds the events in a quest of discovery by her husband, the constant gardener. He is changed in the process of the quest and brings the story to a logical conclusion.In the ongoing debate around GMO (genetically modified organism) research, the difficulties some scientists experience when publishing critical research results on pharmaceuticals, the newly rekindled interest in Africa by western politicians, THE CONSTANT GARDENER remains a very topical book. It is also captivating, and, despite the gravity of the issues, a good and intriguing story.

  • Michael
    2019-06-13 10:36

    This is one of LeCarre's best novels--especially impressive because he's out of his usual Cold War milieu. But the narrative drive, the simmering anti-corporate anger, are all there. Also, the opening paragraph is a marvel: precise, engaging, suspenseful, and a quick character sketch, all in one.

  • Gary
    2019-06-06 10:47

    It is difficult to find fault with this book, so I won't try. I have always enjoyed Le Carre's work, partly because he has connections that enable him to find out about things that are not usually talked about publicly; partly because his writing is sublime.Mr Le Carre knows how to tell a story and this is one of his best. It builds slowly but surely to its shocking but almost inevitable conclusion and the way it's done keeps you reading with interest to the end. The end itself leaves you a bit more cynical, a bit sad and with the feeling that you cannot fight the system, in this case governments and big business in league together. Perhaps in league is too strong: one government is mostly corrupt and the other turns a blind eye because it is expedient and helps their own country's companies.The story concerns what the giant pharmaceutical companies will do to protect their profits and what governments will do to protect big business (and, therefore, their campaign funds and economic prosperity). I won't go into too much detail but it aint pretty and people get hurt - and dead. The people who suffer the most are the poor people of Africa, who are being used as guinea pigs to test a drug that has not been trialed for long enough and kills people in its present, unrefined form. They have no choice but to trust the doctors and aid workers who hand out the drug, as they have no alternative for an informed second opinion.The tale also covers the gravy train that is international aid. The aid employees range from those on the ground, who know that without the bribes that all the local officials must have they will be chucked out, and those at the top who attend multiple conferences all round the world and enjoy a lavish lifestyle as a result.One of the main characters is dead as it begins. She had discovered what was happening; she was gathering evidence and lobbying to try to stop it and bring the culprits to book. Now she's dead and her husband is left to pick up the pieces of his life - and hers. Are martyrs brave and selfless in our interests or fools fighting an unwinnable war? Take your pick.Although this story is about a British company (among others) and the British and Kenyan governments, it could be anyone really. After all, if we don't, the Americans will, right?Read it and educate yourself - and have a thoroughly enjoyable read, btw. Marvellous. Thank you Mr Le Carre.

  • Francisco Márquez
    2019-06-21 07:57

    It took me an eternity to finish this book because of a universal conspiracy to keep me on my toes and away from it. Luckily, after a series of difficult tribulations I got to finishing it, and thank God I did. This was my first Le Carré book and definitely not my last. Possibly one of modern literature's most enthralling narrators of its time, Le Carré creates a carefully calibrated and well-researched story in the politically relevant novel. His deliberate choices as a storyteller are admirable as he manages to reveal bits of information in the most unexpected ways, keeping the reader focused at all times. He doesn't haste into the story either, rather he is graceful with it, expertly delivering all the novel's necessary information like quick gunshots at all the right times. The prolific writer is deftly aware of his choice to write complex political dramas, leading to slow starts that require setting up a strong foundation. However, when this is set and the writer knows that the reader knows enough for him to begin weaving his beautiful web, his suspense never ceases to rise until the very last page. One tiny last thing I have to commend Le Carré for is his obvious infatuation and obsession with his characters. Regardless of whether they are antagonists, protagonists, or minor characters he creates a unique voice, way of thinking, and past to each one. Whether these "pasts" are deliberately revealed is besides the point, it's his passion for humanity and for storytelling that comes out screaming through his words. His well-built characters become the glue to the already strong elements of the novel. It's what makes you ache for Justin Quayle, or what makes you both empathize with and want to strangle Lorbeer, or what makes you grieve Tessa's death. It's what awakens the inner activist in us all, wanting to pursue and reform a corrupt new world order, but what leaves you heartbroken at the harsh reality we live in everyday. The intense novel leaves you with a bittersweet taste. One that changes the way you will see the world the moment you turn that last page.

  • Arun Divakar
    2019-05-23 05:05

    Human tragedy as an occurrence is very much similar to clay; it can either drive humans to the vilest acts of insanity or the most humane of actions. Natural disasters, accidents and countless other instances bear witness to such acts each day & everyday across the world. Tragedy in individual life of a fictional character on the other hand gives rise to literary gems (a la Shakespeare & the gang) or movies (read tear jerker/pay back movies). The backdrop of John Le Carre’s The Constant Gardener has a tragic backdrop of a wife who is a devoted human rights activist getting murdered in a barren wasteland in Kenya in a most gruesome way. What follows is a husband’s quest on the road to the truth. Heard that before you say? Well it’s a different quest here and a different landscape.The plot line is as simple as what I wrote above but there are sub plots and characters that would seem a lot more flesh and blood than many run-of-the-mill thrillers we come across. The best trait of this book is how human it is. The villains are not cartoonish; they are human like you or me. No one is an absolute black or white, they are doing what they must in order to survive. There are a lot of betrayals here as well, individual as well as on the on broader perspectives: in the name of love, country and that stubborn mule named duty. For individual betterments they jump sides and tip scales in seconds, you have met people like them before at your offices and your living space. The dialog is sometimes labyrinthine and the protagonist is an unlikely one who is polite to a fault and sometimes too good to be true. Like some of us mere mortals, he realizes the worth of love once that flame gets extinguished.The tale drags at places but that does not make me want to reduce a star in the rating scale, it is a solid five star book for me. Human & Animal rights activists have sometimes struck me as unreal, the fiery passion they embody for their cause is ethereal to my mind. I close this review with what one of my friends told me of this book “It makes you think and believe that there is much more to life than the humdrum of the daily activities”.

  • Carrie
    2019-06-20 10:45

    This was a fun book. I read it after I had already seen the movie, and I still found it suspenseful enough that I had to pull it from being my commuting book, and spend an hour on my couch Sunday morning frantically finishing it. Since I already knew what happened, I have to give much credit to Le Carré's ability to spin a plot. It is also very well written, particularly for a popular, mass-market thriller (I’m looking at you, Da Vinci Code). It was a nice post-Cold War twist on a spy story, and it touched on the extremely important issue of the way the first world treats the third world, and I am told, by The New York Review of Books, that the situation in Africa is even worse than the book would leave you to believe, which is absolutely horrifying.But – in the end I left the book a little unsatisfied, and here is why. Even though this is quite a good book, I honestly thought the film was better. This is the rare situation where a good book is made into a better movie. The book is a decent thriller, but the movie told an important and moving story, and did it in a much more credible way. It streamlined the plot, uncomplicated the cover-up, and as good as the writing is, the acting was better. Tessa and Justin seemed realer when played by Rachel Weisz and Ralph Fiennes than on the page. I don’t know – the movie made me cry for Tessa and for Justin and for Africa, and the book just made me tear through the pages, and shake my head cynically. It’s a surreal reading experience for this book lover to keep thinking of the film. Oh well.That having been said, I quite enjoyed my first Le Carré, and look forward to reading The Quest for Karla saga sometime in the near future!

  • Elli
    2019-05-30 06:52

    The Constant Gardner by John le Carre. I loved it; I don't know that I've enjoyed a book more (although I've liked some as much). I liked Smiley and the other characters, well, John le Carre's books; I'm so glad I got to read this one. It focuses on the drug industry and how some things contribute to problems, rather than help them. It also focuses on the diplomatic life in an African country right before the colonial regime changed into sort of a more local one. There are alot of implications. And le Carre's writing and descriptive powers are masterful! It's one book that I really didn't want to end!

  • Erin
    2019-06-10 07:02

    People raved about this novel, but I thought it was boring and predictable, and had too much dialogue. Woman is murdered in Kenya for investigating whether drug companies are using people as guinea pigs. Her husband solves the mystery.

  • Marieke
    2019-05-23 04:37

    This was a fun break from my typical reading routine. I do like a serious spy/detective/crime thriller from time to time. Actually, I ought to read them more often. This one inspired me to really get a handle on the issues related to pharmaceutical R&D and global distribution.

  • Paradoxe
    2019-06-11 05:51

    3,00 - 3,50 starsΜου αρέσουν η αστυνομική και η νουάρ λογοτεχνία. Τα κατασκοπικά όχι. Για ν’ ακριβολογώ επειδή η κατασκοπία στην ουσία της αφορά την καταπάτηση ατομικών δικαιωμάτων, ακόμη και ως μυθιστορία με ανατριχιάζει. Γνωρίζοντας λοιπόν το είδος που αντιπροσωπεύει ο Λε Καρρέ απέφευγα για αρκετό καιρό το βιβλίο παρότι εκείνη την περίοδο με το φοιτητικό χαρτζιλίκι αγόραζα κατά βάση βιβλία απ’ τα περίπτερα και κάθε τόσο έπεφτα πάνω του. Κάποιο καλοκαίρι στο τελείωμα της εξεταστικής δε βρήκα τίποτα άλλο και περισσότερο με δυσφορία και λιγότερο με ενεργό ενδιαφέρον το πήρα. Το ξεκίνησα να πάρω μια γεύση πριν πάω στην παραλία και τελικά δεν πήγα στην παραλία εκείνη την ημέρα και την έβγαλα με το βιβλίο και ‘’γλεντώντας’’ το βράδυ με πιτόγυρα και μου φαίνεται είχα πάρει κι ένα ποντικάκι απ’ το ζαχαροπλαστείο. Μου άρεσε θέλω να πω τόσο πολύ που καθηλώθηκα με διάφορα σνακ οκλαδόν στην πολυθρόνα μου. Δεν άλλαξαν ξαφνικά τα γούστα μου. Άλλαξε ο διπλωμάτης. Αυτό που τον άλλαξε είναι και η ουσία του μυθιστορήματος αυτού: Πότε ξεκινάει και πότε χάνεται η επικοινωνία σε ένα ζευγάρι; Πότε παύουμε να εμπιστευόμαστε τα ειδικά, την εσώτερη έκφραση, τα θέλω, τις πεποιθήσεις μας και ζούμε μαζί και μόνοι; Μετά συμβαίνει κάτι μέσα στη ζωή, μια αρρώστια, ένας θάνατος ακόμη κι αν δεν είναι μια φαντασμαγορική δολοφονία, ή φτάνουν τα πράγματα με κάποιο τρόπο σε ένα τέρμα. Αναμφίβολα έρχεται η στιγμή πριν μαζέψεις τα κομμάτια σου κι αρχίζεις μαζεύοντας τα κομμάτια του ‘’όχι πια’’ δικού σου ανθρώπου, δυο ρούχα, ένα σημείωμα, κάποιους σελιδοδείκτες στο browser και ανακαλύπτεις εκ νέου, ή προβληματίζεσαι. Συχνά κατηγορείς γιατί αυτό πρέπει να κάνεις, κανένας δεν είναι λιγότερο εγωιστής απ’ τους άλλους όταν πέφτει η αυλαία του τέλους, ξεχνάς το τσιτάτο ‘’κι οι δυο φταίνε’’ και σε προστατεύεις. Μα κάποια στιγμή αποσαθρώνεται ο σοβάς, ειδικά όταν τα ερωτηματικά είναι περισσότερα, έτσι γίνεται κι εδώ. Κατά τ’ άλλα μια πλοκή συνηθισμένη, γνωστή αν μη τι άλλο από άλλα βιβλία τύπου Γκρίσαμ και ταινίες με κακές βιομηχανίες με πολλά άπλυτα και ακόμη μεγαλύτερα συμφέροντα. Όμως οι άνθρωποι δεν είναι φαντασμαγορικοί, είναι απλοί, δε διαφέρουν από ‘μας κι αυτό είναι που με κέρδισε. Ένας περίλυπος, χαμένος και τελικά αποφασισμένος να μην το βάλει κάτω, άνθρωπος, όχι ένας υπερήρωας, ούτε ένας Σέρλοκ.Αν είναι βαρετό το βιβλίο; Όχι. Αν κάνει κοιλιές; Κάνει. Αν ρέει, ή αν πάει σα σαλιγκάρι; Σαλιγκάρι. Μα και πάλι οι λέξεις του είναι σαν το νερό, που σημαίνει πως πάντα θα βρει μια δίοδο να περάσει και να φτάσει σε ένα τέρμα, στο τέρμα του και στη δική μας τελική γεύση που δεν είναι ιδιαίτερα νόστιμη, αλλά δεν αφήνει απ’ την άλλη την αίσθηση της ματαιότητας.

  • Luba
    2019-05-22 03:42

    The story starts slowly but eventually develops in a pretty decent thriller. I am glad that Kenya looks more promising as compared to late 1990s.

  • Rita Araújo
    2019-06-06 07:40


  • Nuno Ferreira
    2019-05-25 06:51

    Vi a adaptação cinematográfica com Ralph Fiennes e Rachel Weisz, talvez há cerca de dez anos, pelo que vários pormenores do enredo me estavam distantes e fiquei mesmo com a ideia de que a adaptação de Fernando Meirelles ao grande ecrã tenha conhecido algumas diferenças do livro. Talvez por o filme não estar tão presente na minha cabeça, fui surpreendido agradavelmente pela obra, ainda que não tenha conseguido destrinçar mentalmente as personagens Justin e Tessa Quayle das figuras de Fiennes e Weisz, atores que parecem assentar como uma luva nas criações de le Carré.Ora, apesar de não ler nada do autor há três anos, é uma das minhas maiores referências fora do âmbito do fantástico. Muito mais do que pelos enredos, acima de tudo pela forma fria e crua como escreve. A maturidade literária conquista-se com a experiência, e eu dou por mim a ler John le Carré só para absorver um pouquinho dessa bagagem.Mas a trama de O Fiel Jardineiro é a sua verdadeira pedra de toque. Rica em detalhes e absurdamente credível, quando gabinetes, organizações e até mesmo fármacos nasceram somente da cabeça do escritor, ela oferece-nos uma leitura em camadas, levando-nos por caminhos difusos e confundindo-nos sobre a conduta do próprio narrador em terceira pessoa. Através dos mais variados pontos de vista, conhecemos uma história que em alguns momentos parece não ser muito difícil de desmontar, mas que nos reserva uma dissonância de paralelismos e detalhes que roçam o inquietante.Justin Quayle é o fiel jardineiro que intitula a obra. Ele é um diplomata britânico destacado em Nairobi, no Quénia, que nos tempos livres se ocupa de cuidar das suas plantas. É casado com Tessa, uma mulher mais nova e muito mais enérgica, ligada afincadamente a causas humanitárias. Filha de uma condessa italiana mas com educação britânica, Tessa é companhia frequente do Dr. Arnold Bluhm, um médico negro, alto e bonito, que partilha com ela o amor pelo humanitarismo e com quem é visto assiduamente junto da população queniana, principalmente dos mais desfavorecidos.Absorvido no trabalho na Embaixada, Justin parece dedicar uma confiança cega à mulher, de modo que não questiona nem os seus assuntos privados nem as incontáveis viagens que faz, acompanhada pelo sempre acessível Dr. Bluhm. Parece até surdo para com os rumores cada vez mais incisivos da comunidade, certa que está de que o médico e Tessa são amantes, com uma estranha conivência por parte do marido.Estes mexericos ganham volume quando, durante uma viagem para participarem num seminário, o automóvel onde viajavam é encontrado nas margens do lago Turkana. O motorista fora decapitado. A Tessa, a garganta fora aberta de um lado ao outro. O Dr. Arnold Bluhm, encontra-se desaparecido. As parangonas dos jornais apontam para um crime passional ou ato desesperado, sempre com o médico como principal suspeito.Mas Justin, o bom Justin, o fiel e dedicado Justin, é obrigado a acordar para as atividades sub-reptícias da esposa falecida, e convicto de que Arnold foi um bode expiatório para o crime, é convidado a tocar no ninho de Abelhas, o mesmo que Tessa sacudiu, causando com efeito os terríveis acontecimentos no lago Turkana. A sua morte.O outro protagonista da história é Alexander "Sandy" Woodrow. Membro proeminente da Embaixada Britânica em Nairobi, Sandy é um grande amigo do casal e é a ele que cabe a tarefa de comunicar a Justin a morte de Tessa. Casado com Gloria e pai de filhos, Sandy é uma figura cheia de nuances, ambições e sentimentos contraditórios, cujos conhecimentos e comportamentos serão a chave dos acontecimentos antes e após a ação do livro.A trama está repleta de personagens riquíssimas e dúbias. Ghita Pearson, Tim Donohue, Markus Lorbeer, Porter Coleridge, Bernard Pellegrin, Kenny K. Curtiss, Lara Enrich, Elena, Arthur Hammond, Crick, entre muitos outros. Os problemas sociais escrutinados pelo autor, como a SIDA ou a tuberculose, foram extremamente bem retratados, assim como o papel de cobaria que as populações pobres desempenham, talvez de uma forma não tão literal como no livro, mas como efetivamente acontece na realidade, onde elas são vistas pelos grupos capitalistas como refugo da Humanidade.O Fiel Jardineiro não é o meu livro preferido do autor, mas adorei. A pegada é bem tensa, com sombras por todo o lado, uma dificuldade série em saber em quem confiar. Gostei mais do livro do que havia gostado do filme, e o final para mim fez bem mais sentido. Um enredo diferente, pertinente e atual, sem deixar de ser surpreendente e original.

  • Mary
    2019-06-20 06:01

    I’ve never been to Africa, irl, but I spent about a week there recently with le Carre’s characters. Magnificent evocation of the heat, sights, details, severity of corruption and income inequality. Nothing is fair in this Africa. Only the bad guys can win.Le Carre delves into big Pharma with gusto. The complexity of fraud is neatly unfolded. Treacherous men at their worst expertly displayed on these cherished pages. Greed is pretty nasty business when unrestrained (observe my current president for ample evidence). I appreciate how he mocks the international bureaucracies and Western government reps. Hardly anyone is fighting the good fight in this Africa. The machers and pencil-pushers are more than complicit in keeping the impoverished in poverty (and ill health).Le Carre stands above with his uncanny ability to develop his male characters. The Goodies AND the Baddies suck you right in. Actors must covet these roles when his books are adapted to screenplays. I want to meet their counterparts irl, but our paths would never cross and, even if they did, they would be subtly imbued with superiority. So I guess books it will ever be!I do also love that he gets in as much English vocabulary and mannerisms as he can. I don’t approve of the Americanization of English worldwide. Nice to look up some (new) old words. The fancy social footwork that is required of his middle and upper-class characters and their unspoken, seething resentments never cease to entertain. Their real-life counterparts must be exhausted from all that pretense and anger.The Constant Gardener felt less anti-US than some of his other books. It was more anti-corruption and anti-complacency. Although the active resisters did pay dearly. Not exactly a call to arms. More in support of not pretending we don’t know the shit that’s really going down. Let’s not be so civil about crime and exploitation of the most vulnerable.In the early 1990s, I found myself in a seedy/haute gathering place in Tblisi run by a British expat doing God knows what-all. It was a compound secure from the plebs decorated in an outlandish Oriental fashion with good food, drinks and smokes. Quite sure I was among spies, ne’er-do-wells, journos, embassy people and traitors. Everyone was overly blasé and medium drunk. I wish I had kept a journal. I don’t know how I got past the doorman! So I experienced a little le Carre before I started reading his books. Charming.The le Carre womenfolk continue to underwhelm. Either he doesn’t have the instinct to create full female characters or he lacks the will. I get the feeling that real women seem overly powerful to Mr. Cornwell. His fictional women are either in their mid-twenties, gorgeous, slim, perkily breasted, brilliant, well-born and bred, witty and experienced well, well beyond their years. They are eminently, juicily fuckable and dote on their older male partners. Tessa seems an unluckier version of Jed. Or they are manipulative, frumpy, middle-aged, fat, sagging shrews who humiliate and repulse their men. Women no man, or woman, would ever want to fuck, let alone be in the same room with. He should name one of them Kathy Kryptonite in his next book. I have read enough le Carre not to get my hopes up but if he could create women characters as delicious as his men, his books would be pretty perfect.

  • Samuel Bigglesworth
    2019-06-06 08:42

    Cool story that brings to light many issues. But I really struggled to finish it. The pacing was slow and there was little beauty in the words. Very technically written, the prose didn't flower or blossom. Definitely a good read if you are interested in the corruption of the pharma industry. But otherwise give it a miss.

  • Jeroen
    2019-05-30 09:55

    I liked some of Le Carre’s other books. This one not so much.