V.r. Christensen's Reviews > The Constant Gardener

The Constant Gardener by John le Carré
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's review
Oct 07, 2011

really liked it

I have heard some say that of all LeCarre's books, this is the weakest. I confess that, while I'm familiar with the names of many of his other books, this is the first of his I've read. I have to say, I really loved it. It is a tender piece of storytelling, subtle in all the right ways that make the imagination work to fill in the rest, resulting in intense and complicated emotion. The story is about the death of Justin Quayle's wife, and his search to find out the truth. On his journey, he takes us along the emotional and circumstantial road of their union. By all appearances it was, at least for her, a marriage of convenience. For him, quiet, soft spoken, it was of the heart. But the words, never spoken, leave a chasm after her death of unresolved conflicts, both emotional and real. Was her involvement as a human rights activist what lead to her death? Or was it something more? Was she the constant wife, or did her affections lie elsewhere? His work as a diplomat, and hers with human rights, meant that they knew little about the professional sides of each others' lives. But did they know each other at all? It's a moving, gripping story, full of suspense and intrigue and yet paints a picture of a very intimate relationship, that, despite its flaws, its necessary sacrifices, was something worth remembering, worth fighting to understand, and, perhaps, renders life not worth living without.
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message 1: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Smith Hello V.r. Christensen,
I see that you gave a high rating to The Constant Gardener. Goodreads’s synopsis of it opens with the words “Frightening, heartbreaking, and exquisitely calibrated…” and my novel, Cooper’s Promise, could be similarly described.

My writing is often compared to John le Carre’s. As one reviewer said, “Smith continues to do for the thriller what John LeCarre did for the spy novel: elevate the genre through strong, complex and sympathetic characters without sacrificing a good story.”

In terms of The Constant Gardener, the similarities aren’t in style only. Cooper’s Promise is also set in Africa—a darker heart of Africa than Joseph Conrad could have imagined—and it touches on an important geopolitical issue, in Cooper’s case human trafficking instead of le Carre’s exposure of the pharmaceutical industry.

Cooper's Promise tells the story of a soldier who vows to save a young girl who's been trafficked in order to redeem himself for another promise he couldn’t keep. It's exciting, fast-paced, and literary at the same time. It was twice shortlisted for the prestigious Faulkner-Wisdom Competition, and the screenplay adaptation has won numerous grand prizes and first places, including Best Original Drama and Best Male Lead.

Here’s a link to the Nook version: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/coope...

Here’s a link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1462084087/r...

You will find a synopsis on either site.

Thanks, and keep on reading -- it gives us writers hope.


V.r. Christensen I'm a writer too...

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