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About this book
• Winner of the 2014 Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction at the Manitoba Book Prizes!
• Finalist for Best Book Cover / Jacket Design at the 2014 Alberta Book Design Awards!
Edith Stoker’s father is building a wall in their backyard. A very, very high wall—a brick bulwark in his obsessive war against their hated neighbour Edward Black.
It is 1969, and far away, preparations are being made for man to walk upon the moon. Meanwhile, in the Stokers’ shabby home in the East Midlands, Edith remains a virtual prisoner, with occasional visits from her grotesque and demanding Aunt Vivian serving as the only break in the routine.
But when shy, sheltered Edith begins to quietly cultivate a garden in the shadow of her father’s wall, she sets in motion events that might gain her independence... and bring her face to face with the mysterious Edward Black.
Rosie Chard’s followup to her award-winning debut Seal Intestine Raincoat is an engrossing, often mordantly funny portrait of a young woman who miraculously finds her own pathway to freedom within the most stifling of environs.
“The tension never falters; secrets, enigmatic neighbours, revulsion and fear surround a uniquely dysfunctional family. I do believe Rosie Chard has created a new sub-genre: Neo-Gothic Garden Mystery.”
“A captivating, witty and beautifully written novel which probes the quirks and foibles of the English psyche.”
"Blood feuds and family secrets boil under the respectable surface of 1960s small town England in Chard's second novel ... While the lead up is long, readers who persevere are rewarded with a satisfying and well-crafted dénouement."
"For fans of mystery, English period pieces, coming of age tales, feminism, and, well, just solid storytelling, I would certainly recommend Rosie Chard’s The Insistent Garden. It’s one of the better novels I’ve read this year, and enough of a testimonial to make me want to read Chard’s first novel, Seal Intestine Raincoat." full review
"The novel is populated by baroque characters, vivid in their oddity, but they are not allowed to distract us from Edith, for this is the story of a lonely, marginalized individual in transition, the beginning of the rest of a life." full review
"The book has a timeless feel, and far from feeling cut off from culture, it suggests more connections every time I think about it." full review
"Has all the simplicity and lingering menace of a Victorian fairy tale ... [i]t evolves quietly into a cross between rosy mystery and romance that carries its sheltered protagonist to the threshold of the bigger world." full review
"If you take nothing away from The Insistent Garden other than the desire to plant a bed of blue flowers and a feeling of deep unease, you will know the conflicted heart of Edith Stoker, and Chard will have done her job." full review
"While the book leaves a lasting impression, it is mostly in Chard’s beautiful descriptions of flora that I found myself joyfully lost..." full review