The Greenhouse by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (tr. Brian FitzGibbon)

a nutshell: this meditative, beautiful novel follows a young man’s journey from his native Iceland to a monastery rose garden in need of loving care, following the death of his mother and the birth of his daughter

a line: “I think it’s important that a person who is brought up in the middle of a forest should understand this, that a flower can grow in isolation, all on its own out of black sand and sometimes in a canyon, too.”

an image: the colour violet seemed to appear at least thirty times in the book, most movingly (in my opinion) through the curtains when dawn breaks on a day the narrator does not want to come, the same shade as a skinned boar at his local butchers

a thought: this slow, quiet novel took me a little while to get immersed in (which I eventually was) but in the meantime I was inspired by the protagonist’s passion for gardening and ended up spending hours weeding my flowerbeds, hands in the soil

a fact: I learned what a ptarmigan was

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