Four Tenths of An Acre
Reflections on A Gardening Life
Random House, Inc.
“The rituals of gardening give a rhythm, even rapture, to everyday life that is apart from the routines of writing and the flows of relationships. Tending my garden became the same as taking care of myself.”
When Laurie Lisle fled the city, she was in such a fever to buy a particular old clapboard house on the green of a historic New England village that she didn’t notice the awkward shape of the backyard. “When I had seen the surveyor’s map of my less than half acre,” she writes, “I was shocked at how very long and narrow a rectangle it actually was; on paper, as if seen from above, it looked to me like a fairway on a golf course, and I wondered how I could turn such an awful shape into a graceful garden.”
Thus begins this modern pastoral, in which Lisle tells us how she heaved compost, dug post holes, planted, and replanted–and how she also found herself digging into her feelings about love and loss, work and play, roots and rootlessness, solitude and sociability. Twenty years later, in these intimate essays that have sprung up around themes such as “Weather,” “Color,” “Woods,” and “Shadows,” Lisle explores the fascinating connections among one’s interior landscape, village life, and the natural world.
In “Roots,” Lisle writes about the generations of female gardeners in her family and the question of whether she has exiled herself into “a floral cage.” In “Sharon,” she traces the grand gardening history of her pre-Revolution town and notes the tensions between natives and newcomers. “Words” contrasts “the easy pleasure of gardening” with “the more elusive satisfaction of writing,” and goes on to examine the role of the garden in the lives of writers such as Emily Dickinson and Edith Wharton. “Woods” tells of the “dramatic demarcation point between nature acted upon and nature left alone.” In “Outside,” Lisle battles back the deer and contemplates the mature garden that has grown up around her. Ultimately, Four Tenths of an Acre is a testament to one woman’s glorious engagement with place.
Baker & Taylor
A former journalist and author of Portrait of an Artist describes her passion for gardening and her efforts to transform the land surrounding a historical house in a pre-Revolutionary Connecticut village into her own private Eden. 15,000 first printing.
A former journalist describes her passion for gardening and her efforts to transform the land surrounding a historic house in a pre-Revolutionary Connecticut village into her own private Eden.
New York : Random House, 2005
Branch Call Number:
635.092 LISLE LISLE