Section Ⅱ Reading Comprehension
"The news hit the British High Commission in Nairobi at nine-thirty on a Monday morning. Sandy Woodrow took it like a bullet, jaw rigid, chest out, smack through his divided English heart." Crikey. So that's how you take a bullet. Poor old Sandy. His English heart must be really divided now. This deliriously hardboiled opening sets the tone for what's to come. White mischief? Pshaw! White plague, more like it.
Sandy Woodrow is head of chancery at the British High Commission in Nairobi. The news that neatly subdivides his heart as the novel opens is the death of a young, beautiful and idealistic lawyer turned aid worker named Tessa Quayle. Tessa has been murdered for learning too much about the unscrupulous practices of a large pharmaceutical company operating in Africa. Her body is found at Lake Turkana, in northern Kenya near the border with Sudan. Tessa's husband, Justin, is also a British diplomat stationed in Nairobi. Until now Justin has been an obedient civil servant, content to toe the official line-in short, a plodder. But all that changes in the after math of his wife's murder. Full of righteous indignation, he resolves to get to the bottom of it, come what may.
"The Constant Gardener" has got plenty of tense moments and sudden twists and comes complete with shadowy figures lurking in the shrubbery. There is a familiar tone of gentlemanly world-weariness to it all, which should keep Mr. le Carre's fans happy. But the novel is also an impassioned attack on the corruption which allows Africa to be used as a sort of laboratory for the testing of new medicines. Elsewhere, Mr. le Carre has denounced the "corporate cant, hypocrisy, corruption and greed" of the pharmaceutical industry. This position is excitingly dramatized in his book, even if the abuses he rails against are not exactly breaking news.
In other respects "The Constant Gardener" is less satisfactory. Mr. le Carre can't seem to make up his mind whether he's writing a thriller or an expose. In a recent article for the New Yorker he described his creative process as "a kind of deliberately warped journalism, where nothing is quite what it is" and where any encounter may be "freely recast for its dramatic possibilities". Such is the method employed in "The Constant Gardener", whose heroine, Mr. le Carre says, was inspired by an old friend of his. One or two prominent real-life Kenyan politicians are mentioned often enough to become, in effect, "characters" in the story. And in a note at the end of the book Mr. le Carre thanks the various diplomats, doctors, pharmaceutical experts and old Africa hands who gave him advice and assistance, though in the same breath he insists that the staff of the British mission in Nairobi are no doubt all jolly good eggs who bear no resemblance whatsoever to the heartless scoundrels in his story.
There's nothing wrong with a bit of artistic license, of course. But Mr. le Carre's equivocation about the novel's relation to fact undermines its effectiveness as a work of social criticism, which is pretty clearly what it aspires to be. "The Constant Gardener" is a cracking thriller but a flawed exploration of a complicated set of political issues.
21．"The Constant Gardener" is a
22. A thriller is not always full of
A tense instants
C frightening background
D sudden twists
23. The characters in "The Constant Gardener" are not
A connected with the author's friends
B based on real-life people
C similar to the staff of the British Mission
D outside to the real life
24. "equivocation" means
A clear attitude
25. Which is the author's attitude to Mr. Le Carre?
TEXT 2 (another old article!)
AFTER over two years of relative oblivion in self-imposed exile, Benazir Bhutto, a former prime minister of Pakistan, has jumped on to the front pages of the country's newspapers. She has done so, as it happens, on the basis of a report in a British newspaper. The report claims that the former government of Nawaz Sharif leaned on some judges to convict Miss Bhutto and her husband, Asif Zardari, for corruption in 1999. The evidence for this is said to be in the form of taped conversations between senior government officials and a judge at Miss Bhutto's trial. The tapes were made by a member of Pakistani intelligence who decamped to London and has now, so the story goes, been pricked by conscience.
Miss Bhutto's footprints seem to be all over the story. After her conviction in 1999, she claimed that she had not had a fair trial. The Supreme Court routinely postponed hearing her petition for one reason or another. Last December, when Mr. Sharif was exiled to Saudi Arabia by the present military government of General Pervez Musharraf, Miss Bhutto sensed a political vacuum in the country and considered returning to Pakistan and taking on the generals.
The Musharraf regime said it would arrest her if she set foot in Pakistan and dug up more evidence of her corrupt activities. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear her 1999 petition on February 26th. This led pundits to speculate that the military regime, having got rid of one prime minister, was gearing up to finish off another. But the tapes have compromised the judiciary, whose credibility is already low after decades of battering by generals and politicians. The Supreme Court will be under pressure to acquit Miss Bhutto or order a lengthy retrial which would give her lawyers a chance to air her grievances.
This may be just the beginning of General Musharraf's troubles. Disgruntled opponents of the regime have asked the Supreme Court to strike down an "accountability" law under which hundreds of politicians and bureaucrats have been imprisoned or sidelined from politics. Lawyers' organizations across the country have banded together to announce a national strike on February 27th, demanding an early restoration of civilian rule. And the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy——comprising supporters of Miss Bhutto and Mr. Sharif, along with several other parties——is planning a demonstration on March 23rd, Pakistan Day.
Worse, the religious parties are beginning to suspect that General Musharraf may not be too kindly disposed towards them, despite his reliance on religious militants to fuel the insurgency in Kashmir against India. The government is worried by a sectarian conflict that has claimed dozens of lives. It is embarrassed by outpourings on alleged blasphemy and immorality. Last month, bearded mobs burnt down the offices of the Frontier Post, a Peshawar newspaper that had inadvertently printed a blasphemous letter. Last week, the home minister, Moinuddin Haider, a retired general, was in Afghanistan, asking the Taliban regime not to provide sanctuary to "religious terrorists" from Pakistan. Extremists are now accusing the generals of acting at the behest of "super-Satan America". An exaggeration, surely.
26．In the 1st paragraph, Benazir Bhutto was reported in the newspaper to
A have two years exile.
B announce her prosecution.
C have been treated unfairly.
D have been convicted of corruption.
27. The 3rd sentence of the 3rd paragraph, word "another" refers to
A Pervez Musharraf
B Nawaz Sharif
C Benazir Bhutto
D Asif Zardari
28. It can be inferred from the text that General Musharraf
A wanted the Supreme Court to hear Miss Bhutto's petition earlier.
B advised Miss Bhutto to compromise with the judiciary.
C took over the right from Nawaz Sharif because of Nawaz's having done wrong to Bhutto.
D felt threatened by Bhutto.
29. The troubles which now make Musharra uneasy do not include
A some opponents requiring him to abolish some unreasonable laws.
B hundreds of political prisoners fighting for their freedom.
C Musharraf losing support from religious members.
D some riots and his opponents' coming strike.
30. Extremists are rather hostile to
A Moinuddin Haider
B the Taliban regime
C the United States
D Pakistan religious terrorists