It is hard not to see how real this story can be if an ordinary person is placed in this circumstance. I think often of my missionary friends who travel the globe and try not to allow the politics of the host country interfer with their mission to share God with the world. How this book reminds me of that struggle from the perspective of the one who decides to seek truth rather than turn a blind eye to it. Can we say we would be so bold?
John Le Carre manages to weave together a passionate love story, a chilling, suspenseful thriller, and a scathing commentary on the objectification of the African continent and its' people. The end result is one heck of a pager turner! I finished the book with tears in my eyes for both the beautiful, and ultimately tragic, love story and the sad commentary about our supposedly 'progressive' world.
While nearly all of le Carre's books are excellent, this one stands head and shoulders above the pack. I had it on my paperback bookshelf at home for a long time and had seen the movie twice when I finally got around to reading it the last few months. I enjoyed it so much I acquired a new hardcover copy (through PaperbackSwap) for my personal collection.
Although there is an intelligence agent in this book it is so much more than a spy story or adventure story; like "The Perfect Spy" it can stand alone as a great novel. It speaks eloquently about human relationships, the British diplomatic corps, the pharmaceutical industry, and great power treatment of third world countries.
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...
I wanted to love this book, but I had a really hard time getting into it. Not sure why. I liked the movie and this has to be one of the very few times I liked the movie better than the book. The book feels dry and disconnected from the characters.
An aging, soon to be passed over, embassy bureaucrat evidently does more gardening than he does his young, brilliant wife. She traipses around Kenya with a do-good doctor attempting to nail to the wall a major pharmaceutical conglomerate that is systematically reducing the overpopulation with a new wonder drug. They get murdered and away we go. Hubby jumps on the trail to take all guilty parties to task. Good luck! Lets see, whos involved: a major international conglomerate pharmaceutical corporation, their monster African distributor, the corrupt Kenyan government, the do-nothing British Embassy in Kenya, their superior counterpart in merry old England, government political criminals, a myriad of corrupt aid agencies, local warlords, mercenaries, killers for hire. Had enough, or should I keep adding to the sewage. Typical Honest John. You may not appreciate the reality of the ending.
I really did not enjoy this book, although I do not tend to like Le Carre's writing style to begin with. This story in particular, though, I felt was full of a lot of suspense build up and build up and then when you find out what happens, you think "that's it? All that build up for this?" I also felt this was a unique attempt from Le Carre in delving into a more political theme (i.e. the corrupt pharmaceutical companies). To put my feelings for Le Carre aside, though, I asked others who are Le Carre fans and they said they did not care for this book either and prefer his spy novels.
Beautiful book and story about deceptions and betrayals of ordinary people caught in political conflict. Novel opens with the gruesome murder near northern kenya of a young woman. Her lover a doctor, vanishes from the scene. Her husband a career diplomat sets out to find the killer. Loved this book. Lots of suspense and easy read.
John LeCarres exquisite new novel opens in Northern Kenya with the gruesome murder of young and beautiful Tessa Quayle. Her husband, Justin, sets out on a personal odyssey in pursuit of the killers and their motive.
I was glad I read the book long before I saw the movie. In my opinion this book is 100 times better than the movie. John le Carre has always been one of my favorite author of thrillers. This one should be required reading on Civics Classes in this country.
Tessa Quayle, the lovely wife of a member of the British Foreign Service based in Nairobi, is killed in a mysterious car accident near a lake in Kenya. Tessa was an activist who had recently come across sensitive documents exposing an international corporate conspiracy to exploit Kenya's poor. Tessa's husband, Justin, has been a mild-mannered official for decades, but when he decides to get to the bottom of Tessa's death, he discovers that he has an unexpected capacity to go against the grain. He'll need it, as his journey to the truth takes him through many levels of corporate and diplomatic intrigue in Kenya, Great Britain, Italy, Germany, and Canada. This novel by master of the spy thriller John Le Carre was adapted into a 2005 film starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz.
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.