By Audur Ava Olafsdottir
Amazon Crossing, $14.95, 270 pages
Lobbi is a young man who is ready to leave his home and family – his elderly father and autistic twin brother. With his father trying to get closer since the death of Lobbi’s mother, Lobbi is ready to have a break from his family ties and accepts a job in another country, cultivating the garden of a remote monastery. His peace is shattered when his infant daughter and her mother, a virtual stranger, appear at his new home. Through his daughter, Lobbi learns his place in the world and what love really means.
The Greenhouse is a beautiful story of a young man struggling to find his way and his realization that where you are doesn’t change who you are. The character of Lobbi is endearing and it is wonderful to see him progress from a reticent man to a confident one. The supporting characters are equally well written, particularly Lobbi’s father and his confidante at the monastery, Father Thomas. While Lobbi’s story is not particularly original, it is written with a fresh perspective that allows it to feel new. This is a novel that shouldn’t be missed.
Reviewed by Barbara Cothern