April's Reviews > Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya

Among Flowers by Jamaica Kincaid
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Jul 07, 2008

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Read in June, 2008

"a gardener is a person of all kinds, but in particular a gardener is a person who at least once in the gardening year feels the urge to possess completely at least one plant."

Among Flowers illuminates the lengths to which the consumed gardener will go to achieve this possession. As with many of life's endeavors, it turns out that the journey is more important than the end. As I encountered the previous quote not far from the beginning of the book (page 33), I was anticipating experiencing an awesome, magnificent floral journey with a good friend (for so I have found the recent writings of Ms. Kincaid).

When I finished the book—and it has been about a month now—I was a little disappointed, for aside from the many Latin plant names (a few of which I looked up—I would recommend searching flicr.com for pictures of some of the extraordinary plants mentioned), I didn't feel that Ms. Kincaid ever came to the point where she encountered the plant that she desired to possess completely. Indeed, most of the detail of plants (their Latin names) were not even the plants that she could grow. She does admit in the beginning of the book that some of the seeds she is growing in her garden now, but from the book, I have no idea which those would be.

Rather I found this book to be about walking, about discovering the world at the pace of a pedestrian. This was a pleasant, if disconcerting, discovery as I seem to have a walking theme appearing in my reading of late.

As always Ms. Kincaid's writing is fabulous, delicious, and top notch.
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Quotes April Liked

Jamaica Kincaid
“And my difficulties were these: I found each plant, each new turn in the road, each new turn in the weather, from cold to hot and then back again, each new set of boulders so absorbing, so new, and the newness so absorbing, and I was so in need of an explanation for each thing, that I was often in tears, troubling myself with questions, such as what am I and what is the thing in front of me.”
Jamaica Kincaid, Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya


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