The Constant Gardener is my first John le Carre book and I can safely say I shall be reading more of his work. I must admit it wasn’t anything like I thought it would be but then I didn’t really have a clear idea in mind what the story was going to be about. Sometimes that’s the best way to be surprised I find; don’t do too much delving into what a book is about, just plunge on in and hopefully be pleasantly surprised with what you read. This was the case for me with The Constant Gardener. It started off a little slow but when it switched to Justin’s view of things it picked up speed and all I wanted to do was read and read and read.
This suspenseful novel is based around the murder of Tessa, Justin’s wife. As you read through you discover the great love Tessa and Justin shared and feel his grief and also his anger and need for uncovering the sorry state of affairs that led to Tessa’s murder. We follow Justin as he sets about understanding why Tessa’s life was cut short and whilst he tries to make sense of things his own life is in danger.
Le Carre has done a wonderful job, if you can use such a word in relation to this sentence, in opening the reader’s eyes to the corruption present within the pharmaceutical world. This book is fiction but you can bet, although I wish we couldn’t, that things of this nature happen on a daily basis. It’s political and it’s disgusting. New drugs are being tested on Africans with dire consequences and everyone seems to be turning their heads pretending not to see or for those companies directing the tests see but they don’t see the poor Africans dying and being used like guinea pigs, they see the big dollar sign. Greed is a horrible game, especially when it affects poor innocent people who really don’t have their own voice or the courage to say no. These people get told lies that the drugs will help them and really, they of course want to believe this is true and so trust in the big money-hungry giants whilst unbeknownst to them they are just a pawn in a corrupt business game.
I could go on and on talking about this book and the issues it raises, the frustration and anger it produces in me and the disgust I feel at how human beings treat other humans with little or no regard at all in order to secure self-empowerment, but if I did that you would probably stop reading the review right about now. I will say that I really liked the ending, another thing I wasn’t expecting and I felt it was concluded just right. I have heard others say the movie is better than the book, which I always find hard to believe but so many people can’t be wrong can they? I can’t wait to seek out the movie, sit down and watch this entertaining story come alive on screen. Thank you, John le Carre, for giving me a lot to think about.
To read the blurb for The Constant Gardener please click here