A crisp March morning in the Buttes-Chaumont park in Paris. Claire, waiting to meet her husband, Adrian, has more than a tourist's passing interest in the place. She has come to France to be with Adrian while he researches a book on French gardens, but Claire's real mission is to find out what happened to her mother, Dolly, during her last stay in Paris. A promising sculptor and ardent admirer of the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Dolly suffered a mysterious decline following her return home from the City of Light. Now severe panic attacks are forcing Claire to abandon her own work as a photographer. Is she repeating her mother's pattern? The answer, Claire believes, lies in the past. Claire retraces Dolly's footsteps in Paris and in the nearby countryside, where Rousseau's spirit is still discernable. Claire's quest in France is filled with more than one startling discovery as she, Adrian, and their friends, navigate the tricky terrain of marriage, parenthood, friendship, and love.
- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Permanent Pr Pub Co (August 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1579620337
- ISBN-13: 978-1579620332
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
"A story that beguiles and seduces with its finely drawn depictions of the joys of friendship and the beauty of French gardens. The charm of Rousseau's Garden lingers long after the book is finished. "
- Elle magazine, France
"Ann Charney knows how to set a narrative pace that the reader follows with pleasure. It takes a writer of talent and sensitivity to have the courage to speak convincingly of happiness, a subject infinitely more difficult than misery or misfortune."
- La Presse, Canada
"The first thing you should know about Rousseau's Garden is that Ann Charney's second novel is unusually good in ways that are rare: it's caustic, intelligent, mature, and oddly endearing. Charney is a sorcerer who enables you to find your own reflection in her images.. What I like about her work here as well as her earlier novel Dobryd - and most of all in Defiance in Their Eyes: True Stories from the Margins, an unacknowledged Canadian classic - is her uncanny ability to connect the inner visions of her subjects with their outward realities."
- Montreal Review of Books
"Rousseau's Garden is a study of 'living', of deeply-felt moments and of life-altering experiences, but shown only from a respectful distance, and betraying intensity only when one makes the effort to see and to acknowledge just how much of the novel's drama is as as familiar and telling as the experiences which comprise one's own life. This is a garden of a novel. Stroll through it with eyes open."
- Books in Canada
"In Rousseau's Garden, Ann Charney focuses her considerable talent and insight on relations between friend, lovers and family members, guiding us down a finely tangled garden path with intelligence, wisdom and sensitivity. This is an informative and ultimately satisfying book."
- The Globe and Mail
"Ann Charney has the wisdom to let her story speak for itself, and it does so very affectingly. The result is a compelling, dignified work with telling insights that make one pause to reassess one's own life. A lovely gem of a story."
- Library Journal, USA
"Ann Charney's new novel brings to mind the writings of Mavis Gallant. Rousseau's Garden could break through to the audience Charney deserves."
- Toronto Star
"Rousseau's Garden is a thoroughly enjoyable book. Its appealing cast of characters and its depictions of the pleasures of France guarantee hours of happy reading."
- Journal de Montréal
"Ann Charney writes with wisdom and candour, and without a trace of affectation. Her finely wrought work tackles the problems that affect us all with cheerful lucidity. Rousseau's Garden will continue to engage you long after you've set it aside."
- Radio Canada