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Secrets of the Italian Gardener Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
An interesting book full of unexpected twists and turns that shows a real understanding of the kind of situation he is writing about.
A very readable and short book (148 pages) perfect to curl up on the sofa with on a rainy autumn day, and lose yourself in another world. Go buy!
Secrets Of The Italian Gardener is such a clever and disturbing book. Metaphorical (or maybe more accurately, metaphysical) and philosophical, Andrew Crofts makes the reader question every underlying principle in their life. Just how would they behave in the same circumstances as the ghost writer? The terrible sense of unease this book creates is enhanced by the fact we do not get the ghost writer’s name, just a first person account, so that he could be any one of us. I think I would do exactly the same as he and his wife Caroline and this worries me. The ghost writer sells his soul to the devil, but his reasons are fully understandable. It is for this reason that I finished reading Secrets Of The Italian Gardener feeling completely disturbed.
Alongside the metaphorical elements, there is an exciting plot as the compound in which the Italian gardener, Lou, is working and where the majority of the book is set comes under increasing threat as the people in the street become violent and rebellious. I was reminded of every similar scene I’ve witnessed vicariously on television and again I felt uncomfortable as Andrew Croft made me complicit in the action just by reading the story.
The gardening theme was an aspect that Andrew Croft handled with consummate skill. Gardening is seen as a benevolent activity, but the things planted in the pristine gardens of Mo’s compound are not what we might expect and there’s so much more to Lou, the gardener, than meets the eye. This aspect of Secrets Of The Italian Gardener left me feeling shocked and not a little naive.Read more ›
The book surprised me. It started out having me wondering if it was going to be too dry for me and then completely drew me into the story. The Italian Gardener of the title is an interesting man whom the ghost writer meets at the palace. Seemingly living a simple life in the middle of his friend, the dictator's regime, there is much more to him than meets the eye.
Told in the first person by the ghost writer (who remains nameless), there is a sense of foreboding throughout. There is also a moral question here: one of how far will you go for money?
I found this book to be totally absorbing. Interestingly the author has been in similar situations to the ghost writer in the story which adds another dimension to it for me in that I'm wondering how much of the events he actually experienced himself.
This book is not quite my usual sort of read but one which I found fascinating, interesting and compelling.
MY REVIEW: 5*
A ghostwriter is employed by Mo, a Middle Eastern dictator, to write his autobiography. The leader's time is in demand from his family, advisors and ministers, so time with Mo is very short, sporadic and often interrupted. While waiting for appointments to meet with Mo, he spends time in the beautiful, peaceful and tranquil gardens of the palace. He meets the philosophical Lou, he is the gardener. He is from a well-known Italian aristocratic family, he is a longtime friend of Mo and not entirely what you would expect. There is more to Lou than first meets the eye. He tells the writer anecdotes and stories from their lives together.
The writer has his own troubles and heartbreak to deal with, they are wonderfully interwoven through the story as thoughts and day dreams and memories. The whole story comes together and joins up, to lead you through a tale that is unexpected. There are hardships, heartbreak, tragedy and turmoil.
This is a readers book.
It starts to simply, but as you read further you experience things from a different perspective than normal. You go through the same realisation as the writer as things start to make sense. There are some sensitive subjects in this book that have been very well dealt with.
Most recent customer reviews
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from SECRETS OF THE ITALIAN GARDENER by Andrew Crofts, but it wasn't this deeply insightful, often disturbing, short novel that would leave me... Read morePublished 20 days ago by Books Of All Kinds
This is not a long book, but it is a classic piece of well written, thoughtful and worthwhile fiction. Read morePublished 16 months ago by tallmanbaby
I tried this as it was free as a Kindle book and sounded good. For much of the book it was a compelling read and very believable, presumably because of the author's own experience... Read morePublished 20 months ago by AC
Was left a little puzzled by this book, maybe I was looking for too much 'info'Published on 12 July 2014 by elleb
I found the characters very real, the story well told at a good pace. Perfect balance of reality and the world of the book. I really enjoyed it and thoroughly recommend!Published on 18 Jun. 2014 by D L S
A slow start but the sudden change of pace never faltered and left me wanting more, following the abrupt, unexpected end.
I hope to read more of Andrew's work
Difficult to define and delightfully unexpected, this novella is an excellent read.
A dual narrative draws the reader into the present-day world of a Middle-Eastern dictator... Read more