MY FAVORITE PLANT by Jamaica Kincaid


Writers and Gardeners on the Plants They Love
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Kincaid (My Brother: A Memoir, 1997, etc.) has assembled an impressively varied collection of essays by writers living and dead concentrating on the plants that hold a special, often almost mystical, attraction for them. These pieces are united not only by the writers— devotion to the challenges and (sometimes very subtle) rewards of some one particular species, but by the overriding emotion here: love. The Czech playwright and novelist Karel Capek celebrates the “mysterious ‘Now!’ of a garden, the moment unseen when buds emerge into bloom. Thomas Cooper, the editor of Horticulture magazine, celebrates the resilient geraniums, “one of the quintessential garden plants.” Michael Pox’s essay on “My Grandmother and Her Peonies” strikes a note frequently repeated in the collection: many of the plants that a gardener considers favorites have that status in part because they are entwined with the memories of those one has loved. Every garden is, in its way, a garden of memories. Kincaid nicely balances the collection between the more down-to-earth musings of horticultural writers (Graham Thomas on carnations, Ernest Wilson on the Silver tree, Katherine White on irises) and essays by writers far better known for their work in other genres (Marina Warner on roses, D.H. Lawrence on cyclamens, Elaine Scarry on columbines). An ingenious, varied, and pleasurable collection, certain to strike sparks of recognition in even the most modest gardener.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-374-28193-9
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1998


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