I’ve hijacked this book for the Gardening section as I couldn’t bear to miss Mirabel Osler’s new book. She starts and ends with gardens and throughout plants, trees, fragrance and gardens are much in evidence so I feel I am somewhat justified. She is looking back on life, sorting through accumulations of letters, diaries and photographs with that sadness that comes from knowing that one day who will know that person in the photograph, their story and history. We are introduced to places and people, her beloved husband Michael who sadly died just before her classic A Gentle Plea for Chaos was originally published, her children, her friends, the places where she has lived – and loved. A jewel of a book.
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A Little History of British Gardening, Jenny Uglow
A Gentle Plea for Chaos, Mirabel Osler
A host of vividly caught characters are here: Mirabel's extrovert, free-spirited mother Phyllis; Aylmer Vallance, who with extraordinary love letters would rescue her mother from a twilight life; Stella Bowen, Phyllis' lifelong friend and fellow student under Ezra Pound, their introduction to the London literati, notably Ford Madox Ford. Throughout Mirabel's childhood, it was Stella who would be the one fast colour amid her mercurial mother's love affairs. And turning closer to the present - to new friendships, the paring away of previous assumptions and conventions and the serendipities of chance acquaintance - we encounter Michael, Mirabel's late husband, who's barbaric public-school childhood contrasted so dramatically with Mirabel's own, affectionate and carefree; whose repressed father so adored roses; their childhood meeting; their delight in their children and beloved Shropshire garden, a character in its own right, full of the joy of the unexpected.
'A wonderful book ... generous with excitement and adventures and love. Reading it, I felt glad to be alive'
Xandra Bingley, author of Bertie, May and Mrs Fish
'Quirky, touching, wayward, sensuous ... An unforgettable journey of the senses. Irresistible'
Sir Roy Strong
Praise for A Gentle Plea for Chaos:
'The most original book of the year, and the most deliciously written'
'Mirabel Osler's confiding attractive voice vividly conveys the full, heady experience of gardens and gardening. By the end of her book you will be convinced that the only things that matter in life are gardens and relationships - not necessarily in that order'
Publication date: 16/05/2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
|Publication date:||16th May 2011|
|Publisher:||Bloomsbury Publishing PLC|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Home & Garden,|
Mirabel Osler is the critically acclaimed author of A Breath from Elsewhere and the classic A Gentle Plea for Chaos. She lives in Shropshire.More About Mirabel Osler