The Garden

By Magnus Florin

Translator: Harry Watson

Format: Multiple Formats

A very brief novelised biography of Linnaeus. It mainly consists of a dialogue between Linnaeus and his gardener - a dialogue of the deaf as they perceive the world very differently, but the reader understands their misunderstanding. A subtle and understated work that has become a classic in Sweden.

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Vagabond Voices

Founded in 2008 and based in Glasgow, Vagabond Voices is an independent publisher that is both Scottish and fervently European in its aims. Vagabond is committed to introducing new titles from Scottish authors and translating fiction from other languages. Our library reflects our aims to promote literary ambition and innovative writers, and to challenge readers.

Product Description


Long description: This novel is based on the life of Linnaeus, the eighteenth-century, Swedish enlightenment figure famous for his taxonomy or scientific classification still used in biology. It principally concerns the different ways Linnaeus and his gardener interpret the world around them. The gardener perceives plants for what they are in themselves and Linnaeus for what they are in relation to other things. They never understand each other and the dialogues are wonderfully inconclusive.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Multiple Formats
Imprint Vagabond Voices
Publication Date 19 May 2014
SKU 9781908251268-grouped
Number of Pages 100

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Press Reviews

"Large stretches of Florin's precise prose read less like a narrative than like a magic theatre from the early days of the Enlightenment, an odd and cruel eighteenth-century goggle-box, a screenplay for the cinema in our heads. Its tense is not the imperfect of the novel but the watchful present. What Florin lets us see is the lustre and eventual downfall of an infinite Enlightenment optimism, and, in enchanting and dazzling verbal images, its transformation into a dark mysticism." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 9 May 2013 "The reader will be reminded of the once well-tended, narrow flower-beds of the Nouveau Roman, or perhaps of the rather more colourful beds of Kurt Vonnegut or Italo Calvino - beds, not for novels with a bent towards realism or psychology but for blooms dedicated to the adventure of thought and its grounding in the emotions." Neue Zurcher Zeitung, 7 November 2013 "Magnus Florin's The Garden, which was published in Sweden in 1995 and which has long been regarded there as a classic of contemporary literature, is about not only the erosion of the doctrine of the Creation, but even more about the painful loss of the comforting certainty that went with that doctrine, and, most of all, about the unpredictability of the world. - Magnus Florin, literary director at 'Dramaten', the national theatre of Sweden, has cultivated a distinctive poetic tone in his books, at once elegant and austere and distinguished by a strong musicality." Die Welt, 18 May 2013

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