Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Fig at the Gate

"I used to love nightclubs, now I love nurseries."

That quotation from Kate Llewellyn's "A Fig at the Gate", is a good summary of the book.

Published in 2014, it is subtitled "The joys of friendship, gardening and the gaining of wisdom".  The memoir documents a several years in Kate's life in the creation of a new garden, spending time with the oldest of friends and gaining new ones, and the consolations of age.

I wavered between enjoying very much being directly addressed by Llewellyn and reading her personal diary and having an uncomfortable feeling of TMI.  I suspect it is because I am starting to feel my age as well.  And while I am considerably younger than Kate, I am past the half-way mark by a few years now.

"It may be that gardening creeps up on one when some of the fury of youth falls away."

Some of my discomfort I experienced initially with this work is not the writing or the format (a series of diary entries), but that we see the joys of gardening differently. Llewellyn, initially, sees gardening as a subsitute for sex, I see it more a channelling of the nurturing impulse.

I became less uncomfortable as the years pass (she chronicles 2009-2012).  Perhaps the because really we have a simile for a relationship.  The initial obsessive and physical joy gives way to the creation and nurturing of new life and the grief of death.

Llewellyn explores the joys of the flesh through her garden as well as the more emotional connection of the company of her family, her oldest friends, creating new life, and making new friends.

I loved that this book made me think and address some of my own assumptions and it gives me hope for my own future.

My third book of 2015 and number 3 in the Australian Women Writer's Challenge.  Earlier reviews here and here.

SOURCE: Libraries ACT

1 comment:

Olivia said...

Hmm, an interesting and thoughtful review