Monday, October 24, 2011
The Constant Gardener
The Constant Gardener: John Le Carre: It's rare that I like a movie more than I enjoy a book -- very rare. But with The Constant Gardener, that appears to be the case. It's not that I didn't like the book; I did. I just didn't love it, and I loved the movie. But le Carre's book was much more confusing than the movie was and more didactic as well. The major plot regarding the murder of Tessa Quayle and how it may or may not be traced back to a pharmaceutical giant and its rush to market of a drug for TB, is just too preachy. There are some subplots that didn't need to be present at all -- all the business with Sandy (who wanted to be High Commissioner in Kenya) -- much of it was superfluous. And although Gloria, Sandy's wife, was kind of funny, we didn't need so much of her. Ghita's trip to the area where Tessa was killed didn't even really need Ghita at all -- someone else could have done it -- it could have been part of Justin's journey to find out what happened to his wife. The confrontation with Bernard Pellegrin (played by Bill Nighy in the movie) didn't feel as emotionally satisfying in the book as it did in the movie. All in all, the book ranks about average for me.