Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir: Afleggjarinn (The Greenhouse)

green

Google informs me that today is the first day of spring so it is appropriate to continue my Icelandic novel fest with a book about plant growing. The latest addition to my website is Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir‘s Afleggjarinn (The Greenhouse). This is a gentle but quirky novel about a young Icelandic man who, since the death of his mother, a great plant lover and grower, has decided to forego formal studies and focus on plant growing. Specifically, he has found a job repairing a famous old rose garden in a monastery in an unnamed foreign country, as the garden has fallen into disrepair, as the monks are more interested in intellectual pursuits. His life is somewhat complicated by the fact that he has a baby daughter by a genetics student, the result of a very quick fling in his mother’s greenhouse. His twin brother is autistic but is now in a home. He has something of an eventful journey to the monastery but soon fits in but then his daughter and her mother arrive, to his great surprise. It is a well-written novel about growing up, responsibility and finding one’s role in life, which Ólafsdóttir tells very well.

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2 Comments

  1. I enjoyed this one, much more so than ‘Butterflies in November’, my most recent review – a very surprising IFFP longlist inclusion…

    • tmn

      I am reading Butterflies now – review up in a day or so – but, so far, I agree with you. Greenhouse is better. As my significant other also enjoyed Greenhouse – it is very rare that we enjoy the same books – I feel that it definitely has something going for it.

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