MY WILD GARDEN
Memoir, Shocken, 2020
A colorfully illustrated round of the season in the garden of the best-selling novelist, memoirist, and champion putterer with a wheelbarrow
On the perimeter of Israel’s Jezreel Valley, with the Carmel mountains rising up in the west, Meir Shalev has a beloved garden, “neither neatly organized nor well kept,” as he cheerfully explains. Often covered in mud and scrapes, Shalev cultivates both nomadic plants and “house dwellers,” using his own quirky techniques. He extolls the virtues of the lemon tree, rescues a precious variety of purple snapdragon from the Jerusalem–Tel Aviv highway, and does battle with a saboteur mole rat. He even gives us his superior private recipe for curing olives.
Informed by Shalev’s literary sensibility, his sometime riotous humor, and his deep curiosity about the land, My Wild Garden abounds with appreciation for the joy of living, quite literally, on Earth. Our borrowed time on any particular patch of it is enhanced, the author reminds us, by our honest, respectful dealings with all manner of beings who inhabit it with us.
Israel: Am Oved; Germany: Diogenes; France: Gallimard; Holland: Ambo/Anthos; Italy: Bompiani; USA/Canada: Schocken/Pantheon; Poland: Przekroj (excerpt); Russia: Text
“A nurturer of plants who is careful not to waste even a single seed and mourns the death of a tree, Shalev is a lyrical stylist and philosopher who writes with passion and humor. Drawings by Shir enhance the text.” —Sue O’Brien, Library Journal
“Charming musings on the ‘moments of bliss’ found in the garden . . . in which gardening teaches perspective and the rewards of hard work . . . Rests on solid botanical knowledge but is never heavy-handed.” —Kirkus Reviews