'Rich, short, text, well-pitched and nuanced, short but wide. It may not have length, but its literary girth is undeniable. A beautiful, charming little book.' The Triumph of the Now

 

'A very enjoyable read, with the many layers of voices slowly building a focused view. The lingering doubt remains as so many voices are far from the mark of the perceived truth, so it leaves you with that feeling, what is truth? Blend that with a religious flavour, the all pervading nature (our main man is a gardener), with the shadow of Charles Darwin and there are many many angles to pursue here. Another worthwhile publication from Peirene Press.' Messengers Booker

 

'On a technical level, it’s one of the most intricate translations I’ve read and based on the prose, it didn’t surprise me to learn that Carlson is also a poet as well as a novelist.' A Little Blog of Books

 

'In fact, Mr. Darwin's Gardener is a short book full of contrasts. We have pub bores trading quips, honouring the lord and secretly beating up a man after dark; bored women using their needles while sipping tea, then sleeping with newcomers to the village. This is certainly a turning point, but we're not quite into the modern era yet, and this delicate balance is what makes the book so fascinating to read. Like most Peirene books, it's one which needs to be read again.' Tony's Reading List

 

'I am much the richer for having read [the] book, but should [it] be thought of as a work of "historical fiction"? It very much depends on how one defines the term. Real historical people and events lurk in the background of Carlson's book, but there they remain, in the shadows (some of the names are those of real villagers, but they are ordinary people about whom history tells us little, and whose personalities Carlson is consequently free to invent).'Time Present and Time Past

 

'Reading Mr Darwin’s Gardener is to simultaneously enjoy the strange, poetic beauty of dreams and the coarse physicality of waking life.' Dead Ink

 

'It has no plot as such but is driven by the power of its voice, ‘the soft reinforcement of the four-stranded rope’, as Davies characterises the strength of his own family. A lovely meditation on the human spirit and its capacity to endure.' Historical Novel Society

 

'It is no surprise, therefore, that the novel ends with a question that will never be answered.' 1st Reading's Blog
 

'Kristina Carlson delivers a story rich and profound with writing that feels like one long poem about what it means to be a human and struggling to understand the greater question of life.' Caribousmom

 

'The sense of place which Carlson has built up is nicely described at times, and some of her descriptions are rather lovely.' Kirsty Hewitt, Nudge

 

'What does shine through all of this stylistic pyrotechnics is the idea that a closed-minded, small-world-thinking culture is potentially harmful to those who don’t share the same view.' A Novel Approach

 

'The latest offering from Peirene press is something slightly different, an odd quirky book, a sort of cross between Cranford, Under Milk Wood and The Waves.' Our Book Reviews Online

 

'It’s hard to keep track of the narrator, so my advice would be not to try. It becomes a much more enjoyable read when you let go!' Curiosity killed the bookworm

 

'Kristina Calrlson beautifully evokes a village steeped in its own practices and beliefs, where things change slowly, where the reader had to pay attention to shifts in the text, to references to events beyond the village.' Book Word

 

'It is a not a book to be absorbed quickly and even when read slowly, it warrants turning back to the beginning and starting over, which is what I did. I read it through twice because once was insufficient for a book whose depth and layers become clearer when we reacquaint with it.' Word by Word

 

''But it’s about more than just God and evolution and natural sciences; it’s about human conscience as well... Humanity and what makes us human is a key concern of Mr Darwin’s Gardener, as exemplified in the constant battle between intellectual reason and animal instinct.' Sabotage Reviews