Nominated by:

Helsinki Public Library, Finland

Publisher of nominated edition:

Peirene Press Ltd. UK

Mr Darwin’s Gardener

Kristina Carlson      

Translated from Finnish by Emily & Fleur Jeremiah

2015 Longlist

A postmodern Victorian novel about faith, knowledge and our inner needs.

The late 1870s, the Kentish village of Downe. The villagers gather in church one rainy Sunday. Only Thomas Davies stays away. The eccentric loner, father of two and a grief-stricken widower, works as a gardener for the notorious naturalist, Charles Darwin. He shuns religion. But now Thomas needs answers. What should he believe in? And why should he continue to live?

(from publisher)

About the Author

Kristina Carlson has published 16 books in her native Finland. She is a highly popular children’s author and her three novels have assured her a wide adult readership and huge critical acclaim. She has won The Finlandia Prize and Finland’s State Prize for Literature.

Librarian’s Comments

This historical novel, written in a beautifully poetic style, is a little gem of a book. By using many voices, both human and animal, both choruses and soloists, Carlson tells the story of Thomas Davies, a grieving widower, who works as a gardener to Charles Darwin and is both frowned upon and pitied by the inhabitants of Downe, a village in turmoil between old and new ideas, science and religion, things sacred and things mundane.

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