2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A thoroughly bad little book,
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This review is from: Andre Le Notre: Gardener to the Sun King (Hardcover)
Granted that there is not a great deal known about Le Notre anyway, Orsenna pads out this book to the extreme with verbiage. Looking for facts is like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. I cannot even find any reference to the date of Le Notre's birth, nor is there any explanation or theory given as to why he decided to change his name from the familial Le Nostre. To say there is no chronology is an understatment; we jump back and forth through time throughout the book with little rhyme or reason and the constant jumping and side-stepping left my head completely in a spin; by page 34 we are in 1983 and then we shoot back again to the 14th century with the statement "Versailles goes back a long way before Versailles". Eh? Much space is devoted to Le Notre's contemporaries such as Racine or Moliere; space which should have been given to Le Notre himself.
Orsenna's style is florid, prolix and completely overblown, more suited to a bodice-ripping historical novel than a biogrraphy. There are numerous confusing and irritating authorial "asides" which left me thinking that Orsenna merely used Le Notre's story as a vehicle for informing the reader just how wonderful and intellectual the author is.
What few illustrations there are, are small, of poor quality and slammed into the body of the text jammed up against the edge of the page. The slobbering and fawning of the "acknowledgements" section was enough to bring on the dry heaves. I read this book from cover to cover and the only thing to stick in my mind was how irritated I felt with it; I learned practically nothing, garnered few (if any) useful facts and consider that the book is a complete waste of time, money and bookshelf space.