The great English gardening novel?
When celebrated landscape architect Robert Boyd is asked to re-create The Garden of Eden on a strange isthmus of land in Cornwall, it seems at first to be a dream job. Soon the task in hand is well underway, as Robert begins bussing in flamingoes and deer and replanting trees – all under the vigilant eyes of the very charismatic Mrs Lacey and her rather sceptical husband, whose sister, Mrs Rochester-style, has been confined to a cottage on a hill nearby, to which our narrator repairs for a little telescope-gazing, history lessons and some brutal sex. Meanwhile, through encounters with his ex and his daughter, we come to see Boyd’s weaknesses as a man; he is married to his work and then some. The project devours him, and all who come into contact with it. But not everyone can agree that what is being done, to the land, to lives, is the right thing. Conflicts simmer, accidents happen, someone dies and events quickly wind up to a satisfying crescendo.
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‘Pacy, intelligent and so authentic you can feel the ground squelch under your feet.’
‘Diana Saville writes convincingly of a man in the grip of an obsession, and most lyrically about plants, the land, trees, and the pure happiness they can bring. The book is satisfying because it is all of a piece, the characters and their natural world developing organically.’
‘Full of suspense and romance… a passionate account of the process of natural creation.’
'Our protagonist is a landscape designer, Robert Boyd, who has lost his faith. The reason for his decline form the peak of his career to semi-reclusive lethargy forms the action of the novel, and makes gripping reading. It is one commission, three years earlier, that has caused Boyd's downfall. It seems at first the dream job, David and Virginia Lacey ask him to re-create the Garden of Eden on an isthmus of land in Cornwall…and he becomes entirely captivated with the place, the concept, and, rather more uncomfortably – with Virginia. (But) sex rears its ugly head and is the trigger for an ugly showdown. He has set out to create an orderly world, and it ends in chaos. Diana Saville writes convincingly of a man in the grip of an obsession, and most lyrically bout plants, the land, trees, and the pure happiness they can bring. The book is satisfying because it is all of a piece, the characters and their natural world developing organically.'
'Full of suspense and romance as well as a passionate account of the process of natural creation.'
'Saville's plain and simple first-person narrative strikes the right note. She skilfully delineates the hollows of human emptiness and need. Relations between men and women in later life are well caught: the ties of affection and trust that bind partners long after a marriage has died; the baggage of guilt that will never quite be shed. And though the novel suggests that paradise is more lost than found, Diana Saville leaves the reader with an unexpected leavening of hope.'
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Book Description FLAMINGO, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0006551866