Excerpt from The Seed Collectors by Scarlett Thomas, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

The Seed Collectors

by Scarlett Thomas

The Seed Collectors by Scarlett Thomas X
The Seed Collectors by Scarlett Thomas
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2016, 396 pages
    Apr 2017, 396 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Sharry Wright
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Fleur's voice has long since trailed off. There's a long pause followed by the sound of a teaspoon hitting bone china just slightly too hard.

'Will you have to get some kind of qualification now? I mean, if you're going to take over running all the therapy and yoga and everything?'


'Well, she's talked about it often enough. And I've really enjoyed going back to uni. I just thought . . .'

Charlie pushes the open door and calls 'Hello?' to let them know he's coming, and to give the impression that he's only just arrived and hasn't been listening to their conversation for the last ten minutes. His Vans don't make any sound on the black-and-white Victorian tiles in Fleur's entrance hall. He wore a suit for the funeral itself but has since been back to Bryony's and changed into his favourite Acne faded corduroy trousers and a white T-shirt with a yellow Alexander McQueen cardigan over the top. 'You look like an old person,' is what Holly said when she saw him. So he tried the Acne blazer that was his second choice but a bit matchy-matchy with the trousers. 'You look like you've been to Debenhams,' she said. 'You are basically an old person who goes to Debenhams, and even has lunch there, with slimy peas and gravy.' She sort of had a point; he could see that. But maybe you have to be over eleven to understand that fashion is not only – or even – about looking good. At eleven it is impossible to understand why grown-ups wouldn't want to be happy all the time and go around in ball gowns drinking fruit juice and eating chocolates and spending their wages on puppies, kittens, board games, picnics, trips to the cinema and visits to the donkey sanctuary. Charlie supposes that if Holly were ever in charge of a budget there'd have to be a tennis court too. And cut flowers. He suddenly sees her holding vast bunches of pale pink peonies, weighing more than she does, probably, with early-summer sunlight glinting off her almost-black hair.

The women are in the drawing room on the right. Charlie breathes deeply, as he always does when he enters this room, as if to actually take it into his body: the polished oak floorboards; the Sanderson Grandiflora wallpaper in eggshell and bronze; the antique sofas that Fleur reupholstered herself using various old Liberty fabrics, all with botanical, slightly otherworldly prints. The large vase of pussy willow on the apothecary-style coffee table. Fleur herself is sitting in the rocking chair, which has a print of dark pink and purple organisms that are almost, but not quite, recognisable flowers. Clem and Bryony are sitting together on the pinker of the two George Walton sofas. In front of them Charlie is pleased to see the Wedgwood Golden Bird tea set he bought Fleur for her thirtieth birthday. He, of course, is still wearing the labradorite pendant she made for him all those years ago. They've hardly spoken for months after that argument about Pi last July, although of course they saw each other earlier at the funeral, but from opposite ends of a row. Now here he is.

'Hello,' says Fleur. 'I'd offer you a cup of tea but actually we're due to have cocktails in half an hour when the others arrive so unless you're desperate . . .'

The smell of Fleur's lapsang souchong blend. But . . .

'I'm fine. Can I help with anything?'

'Yes, actually,' says Fleur. 'Come and help me pick some mint.'

Excerpted from The Seed Collectors by Scarlett Thomas. Copyright © 2016 by Scarlett Thomas. Excerpted by permission of Soft Skull Press. 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Curious Toys
    Curious Toys
    by Elizabeth Hand
    In Curious Toys, Elizabeth Hand tells the story of Vivian, a 14-year-old girl disguised as a boy ...
  • Book Jacket: Your House Will Pay
    Your House Will Pay
    by Steph Cha
    Steph Cha's novel Your House Will Pay shows how a legacy of violence and injustice can ripple ...
  • Book Jacket: Divide Me By Zero
    Divide Me By Zero
    by Lara Vapnyar
    Divide Me By Zero begins with an encounter between the narrator, Katya Geller, a 40-something mother...
  • Book Jacket: Mighty Justice
    Mighty Justice
    by Dovey Johnson Roundtree , Katie McCabe
    What it's about:
    Dovey Johnson Roundtree was one of two lawyers who won the landmark case "Sarah ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Seine
    by Elaine Sciolino

    "A soulful, transformative voyage along the body of water that defines the City of Light."
    —Lauren Collins
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The In-Betweens
    by Mira Ptacin

    "A fascinating history of an American community of Spiritualists... a fabulous read."
    —Elizabeth Gilbert
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Home for Erring and Outcast Girls

From the author of
Calling Me Home

An emotionally raw and resonant story of two young women connected by a home for "fallen girls," and inspired by historical events.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

W G Up M C D

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & 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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.