Ashley's Reviews > The Constant Gardener

The Constant Gardener by John le Carré
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Nov 20, 11

bookshelves: anglophilia, class-gender-race, favorites, thrillers, romantical-tragical
Read in November, 2011

Holy cow and for the love of Batman was this a good book. I know that I've been subsisting mostly on YA dystopian romances and sci-fi/fantasy "escapist" stuff for the past nine months or so, so you might not trust my judgement at this point, but you should really believe me when I say that this is a book you should read. You, lover of action adventures and thrillers. You, lover of tense but thorough case studies into corruption and intrigue. You, lover of words. You, lover of intricate explorations into the human heart. YOU, MOTHERFUCKER.

I'd read John le Carré before and noted at the time that I probably would have eaten that book up with a spoon if it hadn't been about spies. Now, having read The Constant Gardener, I'm glad to see I was right. le Carré's deceptively simple diction plays well for both the casual reader more interested in the action parts of the story, and for readers who enjoy things happening under the surface. What's great about this, and this is something I don't think a lot of literary authors really get nowadays, is that stuff actually happens in this book. This is the perfect example of what can be achieved by a talented writer who isn't afraid his Big Author Pants will be taken away if he strays too far from the intellectual flock. le Carré writes with intelligence and passion. This book combines everything I love about authors like Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro (practically the only "serious" authors I can stand to read) with the pace and intensity of a seasoned thriller writer like John Grisham or Michael Connelly.

I'm not even going to start on how much I loved Justin Quayle (and the dearly departed Tessa) as characters, but particularly Justin. I can't even explain to you how much I adore that fictional man, and what he represents in terms of the novel ("constant gardener" doesn't mean what you think it's going to mean, and the real meaning, once you figure it out, is a gutpuncher).

I loved it.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Willow (new) - added it

Willow I saw the movie for this and I thought it was excellent. I also love John le Carre's writing. His characters are so real. I've been avoiding reading it though because I know the story is tragic.


Ashley I liked the movie, but the book is just SO. GOOD. He's such a great writer.


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