Review in Books+Publishing
Books+Publishing – Thursday, 18 September 2014
The Floating Garden
(four stars ⋆⋆⋆⋆)
Set in Sydney in the 1920s, The Floating Garden beautifully and evocatively portrays both the difficulties and the sense of promise in the post-war era. Through the eyes of Ellis and Rennie, we witness the changes in the tight-knit community of Milsons Point as Sydney’s iconic harbour bridge is built. The novel begins as landlady (and secret gardening writer) Ellis sees the last of her lodgers depart as the demolishers rapidly approach. Ellis appears to be trapped in the crumbling house by inertia and memories. Rennie, on the other hand, appears to have it all—a wealthy husband and a career of sorts as an exhibiting artist. Their worlds collide when Rennie knocks on Ellis’ door seeking refuge from her abusive husband…. This is Emma Ashmere’s first novel after a series of award-winning short stories. There is something quintessentially Australian about this book, and at times it reminded me of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet.
Review by Rachel Wilson