I really enjoyed this book, and am excited to review it for Cleaver magazine!
Originally published in 1967, this novel takes place in a villa in Spain in the 1920s. It’s told from the perspective of a gardener who works for a wealthy couple who “summers” by the sea with their friends. The gardener lovingly cares for his plants while watching the goings-on of the villa owners and exchanging gossip with his fellow servants. The owners and guests paint, swim, ride, and generally have an idyllic time. But trouble creeps in, partly in the form of a next-door neighbor who is building a villa even bigger than theirs. Over the course of six summers, the gardener watches the changes occurring around him and inevitably plays a part in the drama. He vividly describes the garden and seaside landscapes as well as the sometimes-horrid behavior of the wealthy. The novel is atmospheric and melancholy, and movingly captures a century-old time and place.
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