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The Greenhouse by [Olafsdottir, Audur Ava]
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The Greenhouse Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Length: 262 pages Audible Narration:
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Product Description

Review

2010 Winner of the Prix de Page for Best European Novel of the Year (France)
2011 Winner of the Quebec Booksellers’ Prize (Canada)
2007 Winner of the DV Culture Award (Iceland)
Shortlisted for the Prix Femina (France)
“One of the most unexpected and greatest discoveries of the year.” —Le Parisien

“The Greenhouse is a rare book, full of beauty. After opening the book I was unable to put it down, entirely captivated by its enchanting style.” – Le Page

“A revelation.”—Le Monde

“[An] entertaining read.”—The Complete Review

From the Author

A Q&A with Audur Ava Olafsdottir

Question: Are you a gardener yourself, or are the references to growth and cultivation in The Greenhouse intended as a metaphor for the protagonistÕs own growth and self-realization?

Audur Ava Olafsdottir: I would like to be a gardener like my protagonist, Lobbi--"silent in the soil," so to speak. But really, I am just an author using my imagination as a tool. While I was writing The Greenhouse, my own garden in Reykjavik was neglected.

Q: What inspired you to get inside the head of a twentysomething man?

AAO: The novel tells the story of a very young father who is "practically brought up in a greenhouse" and has three main interests in life: sex, death, and cultivating roses. The story focuses on his many complex roles as a son, a twin brother, a lover, and a father. I was particularly interested in fatherhood, which is in many ways an abstract experience--especially when you have a child with a stranger, like Lobbi does--compared to the woman's experience of giving birth. I like to play with traditional gender roles by talking about male sensitivity.

Q: Lobbi tries to move on after his mother's death by taking a journey to restore the gardens of a remote monastery. Is the monastery he visits based on a real place?

AAO: Many people have asked me where the beautiful rose garden in the story is. I answer that the possibility of creating a garden and making it real is always there if you can make it grow in the reader's mind. That's how fiction works. My Lobbi is traveling through an unnamed country. As in all fictional travels, the narrator becomes acquainted with himself, rather than with a place.

Q: Through Lobbi's grief-stricken eyes after the death of his mother, you paint Iceland as barren and desolate place. But how would you describe the country yourself?

AAO: The natural landscape is breathtaking. It is like being lost in space or in infinity, and it gives you the feeling of total freedom. Being an Icelander also means being part of a small community of 317,000 people and being constantly confronted with the unpredictable: weather, volcanic eruptions, bankruptcy. Being an Icelandic writer means expressing myself in a marginal language that no one understands.

Q: You have a degree in art history and also work as a curator. How did you get into writing? Does your eye for art give you a different perspective?

AAO: I think the main impact on my writing of working full-time as an art historian is that there's a longer gap between books. But thousands of pictures have gone through my mind, and they probably have some influence on my writing. There's often a picture in my mind as a starting point, but while I'm writing, it disappears beneath layers of text.

My view of the world has always been slightly skewed. Then, out of nowhere, I had this urge to create fictitious worlds with their own laws. Maybe it comes from a strong need for freedom. Like many writers, I want the world to be different, and writing novels is my small contribution to that.

Q: Lobbi and Anna's daughter is an angelic creature--easy to care for and a positive influence on others. But youÕre a mother, and you know that child rearing can be far from easy. Why did you portray the baby that way?

AAO: Is not any child a miracle and fatherhood a wonderful opportunity?



Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 445 KB
  • Print Length: 262 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1611090792
  • Publisher: AmazonCrossing (11 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004Z2QORW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #75,592 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A beautiful, uplifting book with a golden glow. Stunning descriptions of Icelandic scenery and flora, and of the southern European village and monastery rose garden. If you are in to lava flows, botany, fatherhood, roses, monasteries, or even cookery, or are a bit of a film buff, there should be something here for you. The child, Flora Sol, is absolutely endearing. This is an unusual, but very readable book, and I think that the author is a genius. On a surface level it is very worth while reading, but there is a lot going on below the surface as well. Read it and see.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very sweet, well-written story. But the characters seemed a bit unrealistic.

Plot: Young icelandic man has one night stand with young woman, results in child. Young man goes to Europe to look after a rose garden, young woman and child follow. Some very vague relationship angst follows. The end.

Nothing wrong with that, as far as it goes. I just found it hard to believe that a man of 22 could possibly be so unaware of his own mind and body. He has appendicitis (which can be extraordinarily painful), but seemingly has no idea what is going on. He thinks about sex, but in a very vague way, and never quite seems to fully understand it. I spent quite a lot of time wanting to shake some sense into him. The child, Flora Sol, is an absolute paragon of a child. At 9 months, she walks, talks, understands everything, and NEVER EVER cries or throws a tantrum. Yeah, right. Wouldn't life be nice if kids were really like that.

Overall, everything seems a bit dreamlike, with emotions screened through cotton wool. A very pretty story, but never really made an emotional connection, so just missed the mark with me.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
as this was a bargain kindle ebook I thought it worth a punt. And I was glad I did, a heart warming story of learning, love and discovery set against an unfamiliar backdrop. As with many translated books I felt the occasional clumsiness where a better phrase could have been used, but it did not detract from an enchanting book. Lobbi's voyage of self discovery is both simple and complex simultaneously. Read it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
My first Kindle experience and I managed to read this in two days after work. It's very easy to read, a wonderfully told story. I did feel though that I 'missed something' and I was waiting and waiting for something dramatic to happen, particularly near the end but there were no bombshells. It left me feeling contented but at the same time, unfulfilled! I would recommend this book though. It's a lovely story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a gem. Simple, but beautiful. This is one of those books that hook you in right from the start. A lovely endearing story with many layers but huge wisdom linked to fatherhood and the importance of family. A very clever piece of writing which I am looking forward to re-reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Meanderings of the mind of a young man trying to find himself!!!! Goes on a journey and talks about every mind numbing thought going on in his head as he proceeds on this journey and also when he arrives. No indication where he's from or going to or why. Pointless meaningless drivel. Did not enjoy it but persevered to the end. Kept thinking it can't be this bad all the way through but it was. Had much more fun writing this review.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Like another reviewer I bought this bargain price book as a bit of a chancer...looking for something new.So glad I did,,what a lovely book.Stayed with me even when I wasn't reading it, very atmospheric.Beautifully drawn characters.Would love to read her other work.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bought it yesterday, read it yesterday! Thank you Amazon for bringing this book to my attention, It was such a pleasure to read.

The angst of loss, love, and growing into your own self, and a cautionary tale of contraception and one night stands.

A bittersweet coming of age novel from a male perspective.
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