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Shvoong Home>Books>The Constant Gardener Review

The Constant Gardener

Book Review   by:EricC     Original Author: John Le Carre
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Now a major motion picture, John Le Carre's The Constant Gardener tells the story of one man's quest to discover the circumstances surrounding the murder of his wife. The story begins with Justin Quayle, a member of the English diplomatic core stationed in Kenya, finding out that his wife, Tessa, had been found murdered during a trip to Lake Turkana. In addition, Tessa's friend and confidente, Dr Arnold Bluhm, has gone missing and is feared kidnapped by the marauders who killed his wife. The story is, in essence, a love story in which a man, tortured by his wife's death, finds out that he really did not know his wife as well as he thought. As he tries to deal with the grief and loss of his wife's untimely death, he uncovers a series of secrets hidden from him by his wife. His wife, along with Dr Bluhm, tirelessly struggled to bring civil rights and sexual equality to one of the poorest nations in Africa. Tessa's high ideals make her a heroine to some and a dangerous liability to others. As Justin goes through Tessa's personal effects, he discovers that Tessa and Dr. Bluhm were investigating the suspect business practices of an English pharmaceutical giant trying to market an anti-tuberculosis drug by doing clinical testing in Africa. Tessa and Arnold discovered that the drug's dangerous side effects were being hidden by the company in an attempt to fraudulently capitalize on the marketing of the drug. The book chronicles Justin's attempt to understand why his wife was murdered and, in doing so, reveals the seedy underbelly of corruption that threatens developing nations such as Africa. The story does a superb job of providing insight on both sides of the fence, helping us to understand further the thought processes of both the aid effort on the ground in Africa attempting to modernize the continent and the forces of corporate greed that seem intent on capitalizing on the citizens of a developing continent.
Published: September 28, 2005   
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