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The Physic Garden Kindle Edition

4 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Length: 288 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description


Praise for Catherine Czerkawska: "Powerful" - John Burnside. "Moving, poetic and quietly provocative"; - The Independent. "Heart-warming, realistic and page-turning"; - Lorraine Kelly.

About the Author

Catherine Czerkawska is a novelist and playwright based in Scotland. She has written several plays for the stage and BBC Radio 4, and has published numerous short stories and novels, including The Curiosity Cabinet, which was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 706 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Saraband (1 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HBU20KA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #64,338 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I'm a novelist, playwright and short story writer: a 'hybrid' writer, both traditionally and independently published - and very happy with both arrangements.
I have more than 100 plays for radio, television and the stage to my name and still write the occasional stage play. I love the whole process of rehearsal and production.
But I love writing novels even more.
I live and work in rural Scotland, in a 200 year old stone-built cottage, which also happens to be a listed building. I write almost every day, but also spend part of each week dealing in antique textiles (which often find their way into my fiction!) I'm married to an artist and our grown up son designs video games and apps for a living - we're quite a creative family.
It would be nice to have 25 plus hours in a day, but I'll make do with what I've got. And I'm very happy indeed to talk about all aspects of my writing, from embroidery to Scottish history and historical research, from Ice Hockey to the idea of the 'grown up love story'. I'm also delighted to read at events of all kinds.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As with all of Catherine Czerkawska's books, I read her new novel The Physic Garden at a stretch, so strong was the story and so authentic the voice of the first person narrator. And then I spent days dwelling on it, and more weeks thinking about it before I felt able to put my thoughts in order for a review.

The description of the book says it all about why that is. The pivotal tragedy is so poignant, so personal, and yet so loaded with significance for our lives today that it is almost too much for this reader to bear. The novel is set in Scotland, at the turn of the 18-19th century. Its setting is the old college of Glasgow University and the Physic Garden, where William Lang, the narrator, is learning the craft of gardening from his father and the discipline of medical botany from his mentor, Thomas Brown. These two strike up a rare friendship, until betrayal tears it apart and changes the lives of them both for ever.

This novel is about such important things - research and curiosity and learning about the world. It is about a particular time and place - Scotland in the Enlightenment - when human knowledge was advancing so quickly, a time and place that fascinate me for all sorts of personal reasons. The discipline that engages both Thomas and William is that of medicine, and the passion to understand the working of the human body in order to bring about health and combat disease. There is a softer side to this discipline - that of botany and the understanding of medicinal herbs and their uses, and that becomes William's forte; and the darker side, the study of anatomy, with all the implications of working with the body of someone who once was a living breathing human being.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good idea for a tale set in early 1800's Glasgow. The attention to period detail is excellent and the facts about weaving and plants and their uses are slotted in well. I enjoyed the plot and but the eventual reveal was a bit obvious and too long in arriving. I was getting pretty fed up with moroseness of the main character William Lang over his falling out with his boss and friend Thomas Brown. It was far too thickly laid on and lasted for the whole story. William's dislike of of anatomical research was also over done. Instead of sympathising with William I ended up thinking he was very dull and far too naive. It would have been better for being a lot shorter which is a shame as the author can certainly tell a good tale.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
On opening Catherine Czerkawska's historical novel, The Physic Garden, I know immediately that I will have to plan ahead and read it chapter by chapter because it is so beautifully written, with each chapter encapsulating a thought, a question, a time. You want to stop and think, relish what you've just read – also, life has to revolve around work and shopping and cooking/consuming meals...there will be no housework done until I have finished this book.

Half-way through and I am still captivated by the interesting detail, the characters and the hook – I want to know; what happened? I'm a city girl and really interested in how the writer has stuffed every crack in the floors with knowledge...things I want to know but have been too lazy to find out for myself, so far. When I'm reading I'm immediately immersed in these characters' lives, and it's so annoying when real life interferes and I have to stop.

Oooh, there's a fabulously disgusting passage 85% of the way through, describing some of the poorest places in Glasgow:

'...I found myself peering into rooms that never saw the light of day, stinking bug-ridden rooms and passages...in a drab and deadly succession, all leprous with damp, I thought that I had found myself in some hellish labyrinth, an underground warren where only troglodytes might live.'

...and, several hours later, I have finished reading a wonderful tale. I don't need to tell you what it's about – you can read that on the book blurb. This is not a genre story; anyone, with particular likes and dislikes would love it. It is set in the historical past but is fiction, and such an imagination has conjured up a place and a time that will leave you spellbound.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you want a fast read and a convoluted plot this book is not for you. However, if you like a slow and careful read, with evocative descriptions and a sense of time then this will suit you well. I loved it and it may be that although it speaks of the passions of youth it suits sightly older readers better - perhaps because the blood is not as hot.
I also think the writer describes the miseries of trying to survive with little money and few opportunities in an historical context really well. The characters are well-drawn and I felt they were three-dimensional and their actions understandable. Whilst reading the book and on completion, the story and narrator's words lingered with me and I felt I had inhabited that world for a short time. This, to me, is the sign of a good book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this story – it’s a novel born from a ‘Slow Cooker’! The components sit together, begin to mature together and create a wonderful reflection on the life of William Lang. I am a passionate biologist and now a herbalist in later years so this story is personally relevant. This historical, political and very personal perspective of William, the narrator’s life, was fascinating with richly drawn characters. It is a fascinating look at the history of medicine – and so much more. It’s a novel that you find yourself a part of for a short period … and that is what makes a good story, for me. Above all else this novel has ‘Soul’… And I found myself asking … what has changed?
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