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Hothouse Flower: and the Nine Plants of Desire (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – June 1, 2010
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Amazon Exclusive: Christina Schwarz Reviews Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire
Christina Schwarz is the author of So Long at the Fair, All Is Vanity, and Drowning Ruth, a #1 bestseller in both hardcover and paperback, which was selected for Oprah’s Book Club and optioned by Wes Craven for Miramax. Read her exclusive Amazon guest review of Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire:
Debut novelist Margot Berwin gives her fecund imagination free play in this lush and steamy summer read. Recently divorced and craving a blank slate, 30-something advertising copywriter Lila Nova moves into a new studio apartment “with absolutely no character” on Union Square. Lila, the sort of contemporary heroine given to amusing self-deflating wisecracks, is not, however, destined to inhabit a clean, white box for long. Within a few chapters, packed with romantic betrayal, plant lore and a couple of visits to a surreal Laundromat in the East Village, she’s on her way to “high adventure” in the Yucatan rain forest, where she’ll encounter ancient magic, poisonous creatures, a murderous exotic plant dealer, and, yes, true love. A wildly inventive novel as vivid and colorful as a jungle flower.
(Photo copyright Deone Jahnke)
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
More About the Author
Margot Berwin is the author of two novels. Scent of Darkness and Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire. Her work has been translated into 19 languages. She received her MFA from the New School in 2005. Margot lives in NYC-forever and always.
And here's a little bit more to go on:
Writing is an active practice for me. Especially when I'm working on a first draft. I like to walk around my kitchen, drink, think, listen to music, record my own voice saying the lines that one day I'll put down on paper or on my computer--whichever mood strikes me.
Music is really important to me when I'm starting a new book. It can give me mood and place and feeling and motivation.
Just to keep things simple I'll put this bio in real-time and tell you what I'm listening to now (or in the last half-hour or so).
It's noon as I'm writing this and I'm listening to Alabama Shakes-How Many More Times. This song is great! Before that I was listening to Hold On by the same band. I don't really know this band but I heard about them and right now I'm liking them A LOT.
Before that it was Ryan Adams, What Sin Replaces Love.
And Lucinda Williams, Blessed. Awesome sound.
So that was my hour. That and writing and tweeting. How was yours?
Top Customer Reviews
Divorced Manhattan ad exec Lila Nova is a sympathetic character, but she was... harder than I expected. As the novel opens, she's trying to adapt to a new life alone in a featureless white box of an apartment. On a hunt for a little greenery to spruce the place up, she meets ruggedly handsome greensman, David Exley. It's easy to buy what he's selling, and what he's selling is a bird-of-paradise. It's Lila's first tropical plant, and it brings her a peace and comfort she never would have expected. She finds herself interested in learning more about tropicals and more about the tropical plant salesman--despite his mixed signals.
Walking home one night, Lila spies a gorgeous plant in a laundromat's window. Entering the establishment to see it closer, she enters a whimsical oasis in lower Manhattan. Warm air from the dryers and humidity from the washing machines help support a tropical paradise. There's soft moss on the floor, grass growing on top of the machines, tropical flowers and plants of every kind hanging from the ceiling, and even animals in this urban ecosystem! The proprietor of this odd laundry is an even odder character named Armand. I expected him to be a kindly old mentor type, but Armand defied my expectations at every turn. He was fascinating, strange, disturbing, mystical, and compelling.Read more ›
Obviously, I enjoyed reading this book immensely. If you are looking for a hot romance novel, look elsewhere. The main character had a life that she loved, until her husband tells her that he is leaving. She has no life, nothing to look forward to, no friends, etc. She moves into a boring, white and wood studio for a fresh start. One day, she meets a man selling tropical plants and he pushes her to buy a Bird of Paradise.
At first, the plant means everything to her. She says "Plant first. Then people." She isn't very confident in herself. As time moves along, she finds herself rather plant obsessed in a good way, and its bringing her a new look on life.
I loved how the book was set up: each chapter is the name of a tropical plant, and there is a quote describing it. Within the chapter, the plant it is named for plays an important role. The structure of the novel was simple, as was the writing and style, but it made the book entirely readable.
The main character was totally someone I could relate to, despite not having a similar experience in my own life. I found that while I was reading, my interest in plants and gardening grew, and I was totally engaged throughout. There isn't a gripping plot, with tons of twists and turns, but you watch the main character grow, first roots, then some semblance of a normal, happy and healthy life. It was very rewarding to read.Read more ›
Story: New York ad woman Lila Nova, increasingly disillusioned with her job and the city, becomes enchanted by David Exley, a handsome guy selling plants at a green market. Soon, she's hooked on him, and her budding fascination with tropical plants leads her to a Laundromat that has a rare fern displayed in the window. Proprietor Armand quickly befriends Lila and gives her a trimming from the fern to take home, telling her if it forms roots, he'll show her the nine special plants he keeps in the back room. When Exley sees the fern trimming, Lila tells him about Armand's special plants, and soon the plants have been stolen and Exley has disappeared. Armand guilts Lila into coming to Mexico with him to find replacement plants, and there's magic, romance, greenery and greed as Lila and Armand venture through the Yucatan, hooking up with potential love-interest Diego and running into the devious Exley. (from Publishers Weekly)
Spiritual/metaphysical content: High. In the preface, Berwin explains that her knowledge of plant magic and shamanism is drawn from her experiences with a friend named Armand. I know little of the art of herbal magic, but her descriptions are fascinating. Armand's knowledge of plants makes me wish I knew more. Although the material is extremely intriguing, I found myself wanting to learn more about Armand's experiences in the spiritual realm that I could learn from and apply in my own life.
Debut author Margot Berwin has produced an excellent novel.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I usually tend to read more memoir comedic chick-lit sort of books, but a friend recommended Hot House to me. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Rachel Khona
The flower lore kept me going, but the woman was being led/bullied by men. This didn't seem like a personal journey at all, just a masochistic tale that was supposed to be about... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Kristine B.
I loved it, really spoke to my sense of adventure, love of plants, earthy magic, and love! Very very goodPublished 9 months ago by S. Baker
New to fiction - a fast read , and very entertaining .Love the Positive Mind and ArmandPublished 12 months ago by E.Perrone
I am the Armand named in the book. I enjoyed how Margot described our relationship as teacher and student. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Armand WBAI
This truly is one of the best stories I have ever read, if you like unusual stories you will like this one !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Published 20 months ago by iris watkins ball
A good book to bring on a long airplane ride. Not too deep. I liked the author's style---lovely vivid descriptions. But, as they say, "there's no there there. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Donna Jones
Part fiction, part real - I enjoyed the magical atmosphere and the lore about each flower as well as the jungle setting.Published 24 months ago by Roseworker