The Seed Collectors
By Scarlett Thomas
Published by Canongate
Available in hardback and ebook
Paperback is forthcoming
The Seed Collectors, Scarlett Thomas's latest novel, is more than it seems.
On the surface it is a middle-class family saga about the Gardener family. The previous generation were lost during an expedition, leaving behind the following generations to pick up the emotional pieces. But if you dig a little deeper then you will find a book about the mystery of consciousness, horticulture, meditation, the push and pull of modern relationships and guess what - the book is funny too.
Great Aunt Oleander has died, leaving behind very rare seeds for her family. These seeds can either bring instant enlightenment or death. The choice is down to the characters and they are all struggling to make up their minds.
Clem, Charlie, Bryony and Fleur along with their families must deal or even not deal with their dysfunctional way of life, and decide on what they should do with their seeds.
There are surreal moments as the characters try to reach their personal nirvana either through using the seeds, drinking or sex. These desires spin out of control sending each character into a personal blackhole. Fleur must deal with Oleander's guru business to lost celebrities, Bryony battles against her weight and the power of drink while Charlie can't get over losing the love of his life.
Thomas is fantastic at creating complex characters who, at times, are not likeable. I know some people only like their characters to either be good or sinister but I prefer characters who reflect real life along with their contradictions, confusion, fears and hopes. Thomas has created characters who are lost in modern life just like you, me and everyone around us.
The Seed Collectors is an enjoyable book which combines family dramas with the complexities of consciousness without making you feel stupid or bored.
Scarlett Thomas fans will love The Seed Collectors as many of the themes are a further exploration from previous novels. New fans will enjoy this novel too!
You can buy The Seed Collectors from your favourite bookshop.
I was kindly sent a copy by Canongate.