The Greenhouse

Publisher: 
Place: 
Las Vegas
Year: 
2011

The novel Afleggjarinn, translated to English by Brian FitzGibbon.

About The Greenhouse:

For Lobbi, the tragic passing of his mother proves to be a profound catalyst. Their shared love of tending rare roses in her greenhouse inspires him to leave his studies behind and travel to a remote village monastery to restore its once fabulous gardens. While transforming the garden under the watchful eye of a cinephile monk, he is surprised by a visit from Anna, a friend of a friend with whom he shared a fateful moment in his mother’s greenhouse, and the daughter they together conceived that night. In caring for both the garden and the little girl, Lobbi slowly begins to assume the varied and complex roles of a man: fatherhood with a deep relationship with his child, cooking, nurturing, and remaining also a son, brother, lover, and…a gardener.

From The Greenhouse:

It‘s not that having another person sitting in the passenger seat beside me bothers me in itself, so long as she remains silent and just reads her words, and sits reasonably still. In any case, it‘s clear that I‘m going to be sitting beside this actress for the next six hours. I peep at her; right above her long, thick eyelashes there is a very fine black streak of eyeliner. In fact, she reminds me of a familiar and very famous film star that I saw in a movie once.

After a while, the actress rolls up the script, points it at me, and kicks off the conversation by asking me where I‘m from.

So I tell her.

- Are you really? she exclaims, shifting position on the seat by placing her right foot on the floor, dragging her left leg under her, and slipping the seat belt under her armpit so that she can face me better as she continues the conversation.

- What‘s it like there?

- There isn‘t an awful lot to say about the place; there aren‘t many things you can grow there.

I‘m not sure I have much to add to that. She only speaks her language, which I‘ve actually studied at school, although I‘ve never had to express myself in long sentences with an actual native before.

- Tell me something about it.

- Moss.

- Cute.

As soon as I spurt out the word moss, I know I‘ve gotten myself into a jam. Moss is such a nonstarter and impossible to develop into a topic for discussion. At most, I could list off the different types of moss, but that‘s not much of a conversation.

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