What a wonderful introduction to this author! Narrated by "Lobbi" as he is affectionately called by his father, this is the story of a young man's search for himself and for meaning in life. After a tragic loss, Lobbi becomes fixated on the body and on death. He follows his passion for gardening to tend to a famous, but now neglected and overrun, rose garden at an unnamed monastery somewhere in Europe. Lobbi leaves behind, in Iceland, his infant daughter Flora Sol, the product of a one-night stand. When the mother of his child brings her to him, he is suddenly faced with the life-changing consequences of his one night of carelessness, and must discover what it means to become a father. The translation of the novel is very well done. The writing is luminous and captivating and several themes are explored: the meaning of life, death, coincidence vs. fate. There is rich symbolism. This is a novel that one can get lost in; it is not terribly plot focused and it's really more about the journey than the destination. Reading it was sort of like taking a train ride through beautiful country-- with each page you could just savor the moment and the lovely writing. Lobbi's character is quite compelling, human and believable. As another reviewer noted, the story is somewhat slow at first, but as his character develops and deepens, you'll be rewarded for sticking with the story. The growing bond of this reluctant young father with his child is tenderly portrayed. This was a thoughtful and touching story well-deserving of the praise it has received.read more
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