May 27, 2009

The Savage Garden by Mark Mills

The Savage Garden was not a bad crime fiction novel but did not have enough tension in the plot to keep me absorbed for a majority of the book. I found the second half better, although I probably read the book too much stop and start, contributing to my supposition of non-cohesiveness. Adam Banting, a young Cambridge student writing his thesis, is enticed to Tuscany to research the family garden of the Doccis...but as he delves into the mystery of the garden he uncovers, jealousy, adultery and murder in the Docci family. There is an underlying menace following Adam, as he progresses from discovery to discovery about the family garden (think grottos and statuary) and he must decide which is more important to him…the mystery of the garden…or the mystery of the Docci's secrets. In a lot of ways this book is more about the personal growth of the main character Adam Banting than the mystery of the garden. Adam Banting is a likeable but naive character who certainly has to grow up in a hurry...or at least learns lessons in betrayal, deception, love and truth or lie. I enjoyed all the prose about Dante's work of fiction Infereno and how it related or revealed the meanings of the garden. But I think my rating of 3.5 stars instead of four comes from the lack of emotional connection I had to the book. I was left a bit cold and I need to be absorbed in a story to truly enjoy it. My Rating: 3.5 Chapters Amazon

1 comment:

  1. I, too, liked the discussion of deciphering the garden a lot. It reminded me of a class I took while I was studying in Tuscany about "Monsters and Mystics". We went to a really cool monster-ridden garden at Bomarzo.

    I was more engaged with the novel, but I really enjoyed your review. I've linked to it here!