Well-known for his science fiction and invention of the word, ‘robot’, Karel Capek gives himself over to his true passion, gardening, in The Gardener’s Year.
Originally published in 1929 in former Czechoslovakia, the book is a rich, comic portrayal of the trials and tribulations of the gardener’s life, narrated month by month.
Throughout the seasons, Capek battles with the cobra-like water hose, learns the value of patience in spring, prays for rain (but only on particular parts of the garden), buys far too many plants at every opportunity, and agonizes continually about the garden while he is on vacation in August.
The irony and artful simplicity of the book is reinforced by a series of sprightly illustrations by the author’s older brother, Josef. They provide vivid demonstrations of the gardener as a contortionist, hunched and bent and stretched entirely out of shape in order to attend to each unreachable corner of the garden.
Even for those of you who have no garden to plant, nor the faintest interest in acquiring one (including me), I’m confident that this book will put a smile on your face with every flip of a page.

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