John le Carre's international bestseller - now a major film from the director of CITY OF GOD, starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz
John le Carre was born in 1931. His third novel, THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, secured him a wide reputation, which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy, TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, THE HONOURABLE SCHOOLBOY and SMILEY'S PEOPLE. His recent novels include his most autobiographical work, A PERFECT SPY, THE TAILOR OF PANAMA, SINGLE & SINGLE and ABSOLUTE FRIENDS. THE CONSTANT GARDENER is his eighteenth novel.
Tessa Quayle, a beautiful young lawyer, is posted to Nairobi as the wife of British diplomat Justin Quayle. In the course of the voluntary work in which she becomes involved, she uncovers a trail of intentional malfeasance by the vast pharmaceutical multinational KVH, which is fast-tracking a new TB drug using Africans as guinea pigs. She first calls on the British government to intervene and then decides to take her evidence to Richard Leakey. Le Carr's latest novel opens with Tessa's being murdered on her way to Leakey. Tessa was accompanied by her friend Arnold Bluhm, whom the official investigation finds guilty of her murder. But Tessa's husband begins his own probe, following her trail of contacts around the world. Le Carr's ability to draw characters in depth, coupled with his unparalleled plotting and the authority with which he describes settings as various as Nairobi, Elba, Switzerland, and Canada, makes this a propulsive narrative and a lesson in the realities of a world run not by governments but by corporations. Highly recommended.DDavid Dodd, Marin Cty. Free Lib., San Rafael, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
'Fusing an edgy thriller plot with a thoughtful romance, this manages to land well-timed kicks up the arse of both the G8 and the global pharmaceutical industry. Based on John le Carre's novel, this could, in other hands, have been just an exhilarating potboiler, but director Fernando Meireilles (City of God) masterfully interweaves events and flashbacks to create a jigsaw. The result is a triumph, a fascinating and, at times, unbearably moving study of a love affair and the mix of optimism and hopelessness too often found in Africa. If the Academy are as brave as the film-makers, this gem will definitely be in the running at next year's Oscars.' -- Glamour on the film adaptation 'THE CONSTANT GARDENER - a thrilling John le Carre adaptation - looks favourite to win the coveted jury award at the Venice Film Festival reports David Gritten. No one ever got rich by predicting film festival juries' decisions, but here on the Venice Lido the consensus suggests that the major prizes tomorrow evening will go to English-language films. This adaptation of John le Carre's novel about the dubious practices of big pharmaceutical companies in Africa is not just thrillingly dramatic, but also topical and politically engaged, with a bracing, unusually global reach to its sympathies. Meirelles has shot the story with verve and urgency; it is relentlessly compelling. And Fiennes especially deserves an award. It's his most striking performance since Schindler's List.' James Christopher writing in The Times says: ' For once, the biggest scandal on the Lido does not involve badly behaved stars, nude gondoliers or dodgy parties. It is a blistering attack on the pharmaceutical indust -- Telegraph on the film adaptation 'This is an enthralling piece of storytelling that lures you in and leads you astray; it's a high-stakes game in which nothing and nobody can be trusted. it's the best political thriller in years.' -- The Times on the film adaptation 'le Carre's indictment of global capitalism remains as topical as ever, its opening chapters as good as anything he has written.' -- The Sunday Times 'The strongest political thriller in years' -- Canberra Times on the film adaptation 'An unnervingly good adaptation of John le Carre's novel' -- Daily Telegraph, Australia on the film adaptation 'Based on the book by spy novelist John le Carre, THE CONSTANT GARDENER is a powerful film of conspiracy, corruption, politics, poverty and love' -- Queensland Times on the film adaptation 'A poised, intelligent thriller which also points an accusing finger at drug companies dumping obsolete product on third-world countries.' -- Townsville Reporter on the film adaptation 'From John le Carre's novel, a powerful critique of the machinations of global capitalism in the Third World' -- Canberra Times on the film adaptation 'A ripper about love, tragedy and capitalism'. -- Men's Style on the film adaptation 'A powerful, moving novel ... essential reading' -- Chris Woodhead, Sunday Telegraph 'Richly detailed, full of righteous fire ... It is certainly one of John le Carre's best books' -- Sean O'Brien, The Times Literary Supplement 'Le Carre poses deep spiritual questions about the damage 'the human race' has done, and continues to do, both to the planet and to itself. He does so in a page-turner which reminds us that the master storyteller of the Smiley books has lost none of his cunning' -- A.N. Wilson, Daily Mail 'This is a supremely well-executed piece of popular entertainment that is likely to linger in your mind and may even trouble your conscience' -- New York Times on the film adaptation 'A blistering drama that is positively electrifying' -- New York Observer on the film 'This is the most thoroughbred of films - adapted from a John le Carre novel by the director of "City of God", who also cherry-picked an impeccable cast. The result is both resoundingly intelligent and utterly compelling.' -- Marie Clare on the film adaptation
As the world seems to move ever further beyond the comparatively clear-cut choices of the Cold War into a moral morass in which greed and cynicism seem the prime movers, le Carr's work has become increasingly radical, and this is by far his most passionately angry novel yet. Its premise is similar to that of Michael Palmer's Miracle CureDcynical pharmaceutical firm allied with devious doctors attempts to foist on the world a flawed but potentially hugely profitable drugDbut the difference is in the setting and the treatment. Le Carr has placed the prime action in Africa, where the drug is being surreptitiously tested on poor villagers. Tessa Quayle, married to a member of the British High Commission staff in corruption-riddled contemporary Kenya, gets wind of it and tries in vain to blow the whistle on the manufacturer and its smarmy African distributor. She is killed for her pains. At this point Justin Quayle, her older, gentlemanly husband, sets out to find out who killed her, and to stop the dangerous drug himselfDat a terrible cost. Le Carr's manifold skills at scene-setting and creating a range of fearsomely convincing English characters, from the bluffly absurd to the irredeemably corrupt, are at their smooth peak here. Both The Tailor of Panama and Single & Single were feeling their way toward this wholehearted assault on the way the world works, by a man who knows much better than most novelists writing today how it works. Now subject and style are one, and the result is heart-wrenching. (Jan. 9) Forecast: Admirers of the author who may have found some of the moral ambiguities and overelaborate set pieces of his last two books less than top-drawer le Carr will welcome a return to his best form. There is a wonderfully charismatic and idealistic heroine, which will bolster female readership, and the appearance of the book shortly after the release of a movie of Tailor (starring Jamie Lee Curtis) is bound to create an extra rush of media attention. Be prepared for the biggest le Carr sales in years. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.