Excerpt from The Savage Garden by Mark Mills, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Savage Garden

By Mark Mills

The Savage Garden
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: May 2007,
    336 pages.
    Paperback: May 2008,
    352 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


“Which point was that?”

“Don’t flatter yourself, Mr. Strickland. To my knowledge—and I read it twice—you only made one point. The others were lifted straight from the books I suggested you read.” He raised a long, bony finger. “And some I didn’t suggest...which, I grant you, displays more initiative than most.”

He handed the essay over.

“We’ll discuss it at greater length another time. Now, your thesis. Have you had any further thoughts?”

Adam had flirted with a couple of ideas—Islamic iconography in Romanesque architecture, the use of line in early Renaissance drawing—but the professor would recognize them for what they were: lazy speculations on some well-trodden fields of study. No, best to keep quiet.

“Not really.”

“You still have a year, of course, but it’s advisable to start applying yourself now, certainly if you wish to show us something of your true colors. Do you, Mr. Strickland?”

“Yes,” said Adam. “Of course.”

“How’s your Italian?”

“Okay. Rusty.”

“Good, then I might have something for you.”

The professor explained that he had recently been contacted by an old acquaintance of his. Signora Docci, the lady in question, was the owner of a large villa in the hills of Tuscany, just south of Florence. “An impressive, if somewhat pedestrian, example of High Renaissance Tuscan vernacular,” was how the professor described the architecture of the building. He saved his praise for the garden, not the formal arrangement of Renaissance terraces abutting the villa, but a later Mannerist addition occupying a sunken grove nearby. Conceived and laid out by a grieving husband to the memory of his dead wife, this plunging patch of woodland was fed by a spring and modeled on Roman gardens of the period, with meandering pathways and rills, statues, inscriptions and neoclassical structures.

“It’s a very unusual place,” the professor said. “Extremely arresting.”

“You know it?”

“I did, some years ago. It has never been altered—that’s rare—and I know for a fact that no proper study has ever been conducted of it. Which is where you come in, if you want to, that is. Signora Docci has kindly offered it as a subject for one of my students.”

Mannerist was bad, a little too overblown for Adam’s taste, and he’d have to do a lot of reading up. Italy, on the other hand, was good, very good.

“Maybe a garden isn’t quite what you had in mind, but don’t dismiss it....Art and Nature coming together to create a whole new entity—a third nature, if you will.”

Adam didn’t require any more encouragement. “Yes,” he said. “Yes, please.”

Excerpted from The Savage Garden by Mark Mills, © 2007 by Mark Mills. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Group USA. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  19The Arsonist:
    Sue Miller
  2.  167The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.