Elizabeth And Her German Garden
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Taking respite from the Man of Wrath, her children and her stifling household, Elizabeth discovers that the path to joy lies in having a garden, rather than a room, of one's own. This enchanting semi-autobiographical novel delighted readers when it first appeared in 1898 and has never been out of print since.
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On 1898, when "Elizabeth And Her German Garden" was published, her 15 years' senior hurband whom she called "Man of Wrath", happened to face troubles with the law and was sent to jail and they separated. For years they were living in a manor house surrounded by large estate on Pomerania, in what was then German and now Polish land. This book seems to be based on her experiences at the time. It is written in a journal form and a large part focuses on the narrator's efforts to shape her garden and on the meaning and importance the garden has to her. She prefers to spend most time of the day in the garden, often with a book in hand, enjoying the beauty, solitute and serenity of the place and contemplate on various subjects.
Meanwhile the book touches on various other incidences and thoughts and observations, from the place of women at society and family to the German Law, from description of the neighboring farm's head female's lifestyle to the seasonal agricultural workers, from the potential ghosts' presence in the manor to the opinions of her three daughters' English governess about the role model of governess and parents - not always corresponding with the people having these identities, but been important to play the role non the less- , from descriptions of long visits of boring relatives and acquaintances to excursions to a beautiful spot on the Baltic coast, when the narrator organises excursions for her visitors - on winter for the people who she likes in order to appreciate the ambiance and scenery and on summer for people who she dislikes, so they get bitten alive by mosquitoes!
There are parts of this narrative that I enjoyed a lot and I found the witty observations of the author very clever and to the spot. Sometimes there is a spark and clarity on her thoughts that makes her seem as thinking out of the box of the stereotypes of her era. But often on other parts of the book she seems not to be able to escape exactly these prejudices and stereotypes. At some points of the book I couldn't decipher if the writting was ironical or literal, if she meant what she wrote or if she was satirising the concepts.
Furthermore, the books lacks a specific plot or theme. It was very popular especially at the first decades of the 20th century, but I found it somehow disjointed and irrelevant today.
I'm glad I read it, but I don't think it's something special that will stay with me for long...
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