The Seed Collectors
Back in January, I wrote on my blog of The Seed Collectors, 'if this lets me down, I may as well give up reading'. Well, this is awkward. And very disappointing, obviously.
A bit of context before I start talking about this particular book. Scarlett Thomas's Our Tragic Universe is one of my favourite novels, and made the author one of my favourite novelists. With the exception of one early, out-of-print mystery (which I own a copy of), I have read everything else sh ...more
This offbeat novel about obsession, sex and inheritance is set in Kent in 2011 and stars an extended family of botanists. The concept of a family tree has a more than usually literal meaning here given the shared surname is Gardener and most members are named after plants. We have Great-Aunt Oleander, recently deceased; cousin Bryony and her ...more
Reading it was like listening to some awful radio 4 play full of posh people.
Two things about this book:
1) I found it really engrossing and difficult to put down
2) There were lots of things about it which REALLY annoyed me (including the deeply disappointing ending)
The book follows members of a family dynasty as they come to terms with the loss of one of their matriarchs and try to navigate the various perils of middle-class 21st century existence. There is a broad an ...more
Five generations of the Gardener family, botanists and spiritual seekers, are harboring some tragedy and many secrets. When Great Aunt Oleander, of the second generation, dies and leaves a rare and precious seed pod to each of her descendants, the family begins to fracture. Not that there was a lack of trouble while Oleander lived, but as we know from man ...more
The trouble is, it's almost completely unreadable. There are umpteen characters and they're impossible to tell apart because they aren't properly described or differentiated. They'r ...more
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That's what The Seed Collectors was to me. There was not one single character I could like, or, at least, warm up to. I never thought this was even possible. Ok, so I don't like charac ...more
Guardate attentamente questa cover e non ditemi che non vi solletica la mente. Non vi incuriosisce nemmeno un po'? Beh quando l'ho vista io, mesi or sono, ho deciso che sarebbe dovuto essere mio. E così è stato. Ho avuto l'opportunità di leggerlo in occasione di una delle tappe della Trivial Pursuit Reading Challenge ma ahimè anche in questo caso si è trattato solo di una bella cover.
Nella famiglia Gardener si ha l'usanza di chiamare figli e nipoti con nomi di piante. Così ci troviamo Oleander,...more
The book is divided into 6 sections: Funeral --> Holly's Friendship Tree --> The Outer Hebrides --> Triathalon --> Fruit. I liked that these are bookended by a Family Tree Diagram, then a revised one.
*Botany, particularly flowers. Specifically, that the difference between fauna and flora is less than we might believe.
*Family & Inheritance (Family Tree included, a generational saga)
* Enlightenment (defined a ...more
- also incest
- whiny rich people who whine about money
- whiny rich people with ~status
- whiny rich people
- needlessly weird/fantastical elements
- disconnected & purposeless narratives
- bullshit philosophy
Scarlett Thomas is increasingly a hit/miss author for me. There were times I had to double-check the cover to be sure she had written this book -- the soft, sweeping, engaging worlds of The End of Mr Y and Our Tragic Universe are nowhere to ...more
And the wait was worthwhile. While I would happily read a telephone directory authored by Thomas simply for the writing, "The Seed Collectors" is an extremely absorbing, readable book, funny in places, sad in places (sometimes the same ones). Above all it is perceptive, and deeply human.
The story moves betw ...more
'The Seed Collectors' marks the first time Scarlett Thomas has written third-person narration since coming to national p ...more
[This is just me trying to make sense of what I read. If you want to know what this book is about you probably won’t get much out of my review. Sorry.]
This is going to be a tough one. I love Scarlett Thomas’ style. The way she can make a narrative run along so smoothly you don’t even notice all the information she’s feeding you; the way she can make pages and pages of conversation so authentic and interesting. She regularly creates characters and scenes that simply speak to me and she always inc ...more
Anyways, because there are a million characters, there is also a lot of (good) food, (mediocre) sex and ug ...more
What was bothering me so much about this novel were the characters. All characters, I feel, were ...more
She has been longlisted for the Orange Prize, sh ...more