Author(s): Scarlett Thomas
"I have no idea why everyone thinks nature is so benign and glorious and wonderful. All nature is trying to do is kill us as efficiently as possible." Great Aunt Oleander is dead. To each of her nearest and dearest she has left a seed pod. The seed pods might be deadly, but then again they might also contain the secret of enlightenment. Not that anyone has much time for enlightenment. Fleur, left behind at the crumbling Namaste House, must step into Oleander's role as guru to lost and lonely celebrities. Bryony wants to lose the weight she put on after her botanist parents disappeared, but can't stop drinking. And Charlie struggles to make sense of his life after losing the one woman he could truly love. A complex and fiercely contemporary tale of inheritance, enlightenment, life, death, desire and family trees, The Seed Collectors is the most important novel yet from one of the world's most daring and brilliant writers. As Henry James said of George Elliot's Middlemarch, The Seed Collectors is a 'treasurehouse of detail' revealing all that it means to be connected, to be part of a society, to be part of the universe and to be human.
This book has a very helpful family tree in the front - it’s of the Gardener family, an intertwined botanical family. This is not a simple family saga; it combines botany, ethno-botany and ideas about the environment. There are no chapters, but it swaps voice to give different perspectives. This can be quite funny as you try and work out whose voice you are reading. This is not The Day of the Triffids, although a walking tree does play a cameo role, but nature itself trying to kill you (rather more subtle and sinister than that). Following the death of their parents on a botanical misadventure, the slightly mad, intertwining lives of the family are revealed: love, death, passion – at times I just wanted to reach in and shake one of the characters. The character development is superb. Scarlett Thomas is adept at conveying the idiosyncrasies of human character. - Sarah
The long-awaited new novel from the bestselling author of The End of Mr. Y
* Entrancing. The Seed Collectors is a sharply observed contemporary novel of real people and real plants and real desire and real hurt, and it's somehow also one of the sharpest fantasies I've encountered. A sour-and-sweet delight -- NEIL GAIMAN * A baroque family saga of human fallibility, love, eccentricity, sex, spirituality, and of a lost, legendary, coincidentally lethal route to absolute transcendence. Scarlett Thomas is a splendid novelist -- WILLIAM GIBSON * A far-out botanical adventure. Barbed, casually genius, philosophical and intensely readable. A joy -- MATT HAIG * Ingenious and original ... A cracking good yarn, fizzing with intelligence -- PHILIP PULLMAN on The End of Mr Y * Thomas can discuss quantum physics and philosophy while making you think you're reading a sparkling romantic comedy The Times, on Our Tragic Universe * Thomas has the mesmerising power of a great storyteller Financial Times * So addictive, you can't help but fall deeper and deeper under Scarlett Thomas's spell -- DOUGLAS COUPLAND on Our Tragic Universe * Thomas pulls off this intellectual rollercoaster of a novel with dry humour and panache, the ideas sparkle and the protagonist is wryly appealing Sunday Times, on The End of Mr Y
Scarlett Thomas was born in London in 1972. Her other novels include Bright Young Things, PopCo, The End of Mr.Y which was longlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2007, and Our Tragic Universe. She teaches creative writing at the University of Kent.