Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Five top gardens in literature

Penelope Lively’s latest book, Life in the Garden, is partly a memoir of her own life in gardens, and also a wise, engaging and far-ranging exploration of gardens in literature.

At the Waterstones blog she tagged five of her favorite gardens in literature, including:
Daphne Du Maurier

Few readers of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca will forget the Cornish coastal garden evoked there, with its rhododendrons fifty feet high: "crimson faces, massed one upon another in incredible profusion, showing no leaf, no twig, nothing but the slaughterous red." This is the fictional garden designed to supply atmosphere, to suggest the hidden secret of the place, the threatening climate that confronts Maxim de Winter's young bride. And, for me, it is a perfect instance of the written garden that is both vivid to the reader and an essential ingredient of the story.
Read about another entry on the list.

Rebecca appears on Xan Brooks's top ten list of terrible houses in fiction, Tom Easton's top ten list of fictional "houses which themselves seem to have a personality which affects the story," Martine Bailey's list of six of the best marriage plots in novels, Stella Gonet's six best books list, John Mullan's list of ten of the best conflagrations in literature, Tess Gerritsen's list of five favorite thrillers, Mary Horlock's list of the five best psychos in literature, and Derwent May's critic's chart of top country house books.

--Marshal Zeringue