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The Gardener

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As she works the garden in Murat's peaceful company, Hassie ruminates on her past life: the sibling rivalry that tainted her childhood and the love affair that left her with painful, unanswered questions. Lovely in parts, and I wanted to enjoy, but not a fan of a book where the characters are terrible to the Muslim character and… nobody is ever held to account?

The Gardener by Salley Vickers - The Church Times

There are also occasional and pertinent quotations from Housman, Hopkins and Hardy – so there you are, my juvenile hifalutin notions of literature helped me out there. We witness her growing self-awareness and fulfilment, through her garden — “my small private paradise which I felt honoured to share with the birds” — and through her connectedness with landscape, trees, animals, a snail, the weather, and through her many literary recollections, including Emily Brontë, T. This might make the novel sound genteel and a little bit clichéd, and while Vickers does depict an idealised version of village life she does, occasionally, let the real world intrude — there’s a low level of social commentary in the storyline related to prejudice against immigrants, domestic violence and child poverty.Her prose is gentle and graceful: ‘A kind of ritual established itself: early each morning, I would go outside in my nightdress and stand barefoot in the dew-drenched grass and the tremulous dawn light, letting the silvery birdsong rinse my ears and the clean morning air fill my lungs and the sun or wind or rain bless my skin. Those who enjoy a faster pace in their reading, and do not care for many descriptions of place, would do well not to pick this one up. We honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' continuous connection to Country, waters, skies and communities.

The Gardener by Salley Vickers - Fantastic Fiction The Gardener by Salley Vickers - Fantastic Fiction

She has worked, variously, as a cleaner, a dancer, an artist’s model, a teacher of children with special needs, a university teacher of literature, and a psychoanalyst. During the course of the book, there are some fabulous descriptions of nature – the very act of reading about gardening, flowers, the earth and the wildlife is calming and felt therapeutic to me.

The ending felt a little strange – I genuinely thought I had missed something but looking at other reviews, I’m not the only one who felt this way. For Edward Carey, author of, among other novels, the triumphantly idiosyncratic Little, pandemic displacement activity has yielded an archive of drawings that began with a doodle and soon became a pledge to produce one a day, duly posted on social media.

The Gardener (Audio Download): Salley Vickers, Salley Vickers

Renowned naturalist Richard Fortey investigates by looking back over his own life, crafting as he goes an exuberant memoir that celebrates a postwar British childhood spent brewing up mythical stinks, fossil hunting and foraging for fungi. She succeeds both naturally and supernaturally in a novel that notices the possibilities of healing among the fragilities of life.Through Hass's eyes, as she's the more regular resident, we see how they differ – in decor, in willingness to befriend the locals, and in so much else. Most importantly she develops a better understanding and appreciation for herself and of her sister.

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