Book Review: The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre’

Publishing Date: 2001

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 2.3/5

Review: I will be brief here, since there are thousands of reviews on this work. Ted Scheinman (The Slate.com) rated this novel at #5 in the rankings list of Le Carre’ novels.  My issues are many with this work so let’s get on with it.

1) Incredibly self-indulgent best describes this novels foray into the big bad pharma-killer industry. The biggest plot hole resides within the main story line. A pharma company knows that further research will be inevitable before the product hits open markets yet kills people on a whim to protect any deleterious product information from getting out?  Not buying what the author is trying to sell here.

2) The idea that Justin has no idea what his wife, Tessa, is up to is beyond farce. The excuse given is that she wants to protect him from all the bad things she has to uncover, BUT, everyone else seems to know about it. Even if you are willingly ignorant, there is no possible way that you could not glean a simple map of your partners efforts.

3) The ending is a lame injustice to the novels evidence.  There really is no point to the novel when the main protagonist is killed and no further illumination is rendered.

The best part of the novel are the area descriptions. Le Carre’ paints a vivid backdrop, at least where visualizations are concerned and moves the characters through it in robust fashion.  I would have liked more of the spy angle in this work, but was constricted in presentation. Too bad really.

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