Book reviews

The Greenhouse by Audur Ava Olafsdottir

The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse by Audur Ava Olafsdottir makes me curious about fish balls, eight-petaled roses, the medieval period, monasteries, Iceland, lavascapes, sex in greenhouses, girls named Flora Sol, birth, death, twins born to white-haired parents, the soul, popcorn, cocoa soup, haddock, rhubarb jam, veal, knitted garments, forests, dead languages, blonde-headed children, and landscapes without trees. Also,

60 degrees north and higher, the sun’s weight on the horizon, hothouse tomatoes, sanctified children, stained glass chancel windows, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and car wrecks, as well as

final conversations, shadows of hot house roses—their blossoms, leaves, stems, and thorns–dappling bare skin in Icelandic greenhouses. Also,

the accidental and coincidental; blood pouring from wounds, sperm flowing into wombs; living and dying; circularity

what you hear when the sound’s turned off and the subtitles are scrubbed away. Also,

monasteries topping hills in unnamed European countries, wine stashed in the trunks of cars, what you find when you remove the weeds and prune the bushes, when you rebuild the paths and plant the herbs and trees.

Exit an Arctic Circle land. Pilot rental car south. Traverse unnamed forests. Unfold map across dashboard. Drape over steering wheel. Trace finger across colored borders.

Arrive at the bottom of a hill. Above is the village, the monastery with its fabled garden, its treasury of roses, now fallen into neglect.

Your septuagenarian, widowed dad asks why you aren’t cohabiting with the mother of your baby girl. He doesn’t care about you being a friend of a friend, someone the mother doesn’t really know. He doesn’t believe in accidents or coincidence. Mom’s life was bleeding out after the car crash while you and Flora Sol’s mother were in the act of creating and Flora Sol was coming into being. Was that an accident, a coincidence?

Think of the regenerative power of greenhouses.

Think about where miracles take place. Think about what needs to happen for them to occur. They need witnesses. They need believers.

Think about what is possible to see. Think of how long it took you to see the eight-petaled rose in the church’s stained glass window. Think how you are only seeing it today, with your tow-headed daughter, Flora Sol.


2 thoughts on “The Greenhouse by Audur Ava Olafsdottir

  1. Pingback: The Greenhouse by Audur Ava Olafsdottir | Neighbors North

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