08 November 2007

The Savage Garden (Mark Mills)

I should have suspected, perhaps, that a 355-page novel centred solely on a garden would yield literary brambles, weedy characters and watery puddles of plot. Mark Mills’ The Savage Garden is set in 1958, when young Adam Strickland leaves Cambridge to study a famed 16th century Tuscan garden. There, in post-war Italy, Adam finds a “mysterious world of statues, grottoes, meandering rills and classical inscription”; a place that is probably just as dark, dank and hard to navigate as the story itself. If you really love gardens, you may like this book. But I make no promises.


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