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Il giardiniere tenace by Le Carrè John
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Il giardiniere tenace (2001)

by Le Carrè John, Biavasco A. (Translator)

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3,655641,443 (3.59)99
Member:saintwo2005
Title:Il giardiniere tenace
Authors:Le Carrè John
Other authors:Biavasco A. (Translator)
Info:A. Mondadori
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:2000, narrativa

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The Constant Gardener by John le Carré (2001)

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English (56)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (64)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
I am probably one of very few who have not seen the movie version of this book, so it was new for me. Tagged as a murder mystery, suspense, thriller, it met my expectations. Tessa, the beautiful young wife of a British bureaucrat in Kenya, is murdered along with her driver and African colleague as they try to expose a pharmaceutical company's efforts to test a drug on an unwitting African population. Many of these human "guinea pigs" are dying from the drug's poisonous effects. As the husband, Justin Quayle, tries to find out who and why, he discovers a coverup that goes right up the chain of the government service he works for. The audio version kept me entertained for a few long car rides. ( )
  NanaCC | May 16, 2016 |
Despite le Carres' good character development, I was not as drawn into this story as I should have have been. It was good enough to keep me reading to the end with interest. ( )
  BridgitDavis | Mar 2, 2016 |
The first 75% of the book was good but the last part was not satisfying. I just didn't like the ending. My least satisfactory LeCarre book. ( )
  jerry-book | Jan 26, 2016 |
Really good read. Gripping plot. ( )
  clarkland | Jan 5, 2016 |
I remember first reading this and thinking it not le Carré’s best but I was pleasantly surprised by this rereading.

I guess the structure is typical of the mystery genre into which this, at least, superficially fits. We have the report of the crime and then the investigation revealing a series of flashbacks as those questioned remember (and to an extent repress) what happened earlier. I find this a little frustrating, this artificial creation of suspense. I prefer it to be created by perhaps following one investigator and learning, as he does, what has happened.

Still, this book has so much more in it, content-wise, with le Carré’s sights firmly set on the ‘bad Samaritans’ to quote the dead Tessa – those who watch and do nothing as is the case with the British diplomatic corps in this case. I think this is something worth thinking about and in the fourteen odd years since le Carré wrote this book, the way the multi-nationals wreck the lives of others for their own corporate greed has become all the more pervasive and destructive, stopping mankind from fighting climate change, for example, as those with entrenched interests in fossil fuel prevent the growth of carbon-neutral technology. All very depressing and here I’m with the earlier Justin in seeing the way there’s so little one can do about it.

In a way, though, I find Justin as culpable, if not more so, than Woodrow who’s portrayed by le Carré as one of the main villains in the piece. Both these diplomats do nothing but I think we’re meant to feel sympathetic towards Justin even though he too withholds information from the police. Married to Tessa, he also should have actively supported her. As Woodrow tells Justin ‘We all betrayed her . . . How about you, sitting on your arse and growing flowers while she was out there being a saint?’ Perhaps this comes back to a flaw in the plot – the marriage of an idealist to a pragmatist, something that, given Tessa’s political activism, was unlikely to happen. That Justin does later take up the fight doesn’t elevate him to me.

In order to have punch and credibility, the novel has to end with the bad guys winning and there’s that sense of inevitability all the way through. Lorbeer’s dual personality, though, doesn’t seem convincing to me – just too overdrawn – and maybe the novel gets a bit drawn out, especially in the second part. Still, at nearly 600 pages, it is an achievement to keep the reader engaged to the end. ( )
  evening | Jul 18, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
le Carré, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lundwall, Sam JTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moppes, Rob vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wit, J.J. deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?
--"Andrea del Sarto" by Robert Browning
Dedication
For Yvette Pierpaoli who lived and died giving a damn
First words
The news hit the British High Commission in Nairobi at nine-thirty on a Monday Morning.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743287207, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:03 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When the young and beautiful wife of a much older embassy worker and amateur gardener is found murdered near northern Kenya's Lake Turkana, his personal pursuit of the killers not only sets him up as their next target, but as a suspect among his embassy colleagues.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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