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 by Mark Mills X
The Savage Garden by Mark Mills
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2007, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2008, 352 pages

  • 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!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Timekeepers
    Timekeepers
    by Simon Garfield
    If you can spare three minutes and 57 seconds, you can hear the driving, horse-gallop beat of Sade&#...
  • Book Jacket: How to Stop Time
    How to Stop Time
    by Matt Haig
    Tom Hazard, the protagonist of How to Stop Time, is afflicted with a condition of semi-immortality ...
  • Book Jacket: Mothers of Sparta
    Mothers of Sparta
    by Dawn Davies
    What it's about:
    The tagline on the back cover of Mothers of Sparta says it all: "Some women...
  • Book Jacket: Fortress America
    Fortress America
    by Elaine Tyler May
    In Fortress America, Elaine Tyler May presents a fascinating but alarming portrait of America's...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin

    A dazzling, tenderhearted debut about healing, family, and the exquisite wisdom of children.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Next Year in Havana
    by Chanel Cleeton

    a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she finds a family secret hidden since the revolution.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

G O T P, B The P, F T P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.