Blog tour: A Single Rose

Welcome to the blog tour for A Single Rose, written by Muriel Barbery and translated from the French by Alison Anderson.

More about the book…

Forty-year old botanist Rose arrives in Japan, bitter and unsure what to expect. Haru, the Japanese father she never knew, has died and she has been summoned to Kyoto to hear the reading of his will.

In the days before her father ’s last wishes are revealed, his former assistant Paul takes Rose on a tour of the city, following an itinerary set by Haru before his death. An awkward guest in her father ’s house, Rose is initially angry and resentful at the intrusion of the past. But as she visits the beautiful temples and gardens, and experiences the local cuisine with Paul, Rose gradually finds much to love about Kyoto. Through her discovery of the city, she learns about her father and his legacy, and herself, finding gifts greater than she had ever imagined.

More about the author…

Muriel Barbery is a former lecturer in philosophy and the author of four previous novels, including the IMPAC-shortlisted multimillion-copy bestseller The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Published in France in 2006 and in the UK in 2008, the novel was translated in 44 countries, selling more than 10 million copies worldwide, and was described by Le Figaro as ‘the publishing phenomenon of the decade’. Muriel drew on her own experience of living in Kyoto, where she was a writer in residence at the Villa Kujoyama for two years. She has also lived in Amsterdam and Paris and now lives in the French countryside.

My thoughts…

How did this book end up in my hands? I’ve received a beautiful proof and an even more beautiful finished copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. Two copies, yes. I feel a giveaway coming up!

Was it a page-turner?
No, this is not the kind of book that you’d expect to be a page-turner. It’s a gem that requires the right amount of time to be fully appreciated. And possibly a re-read.

Did the book meet my expectations? A Single Rose is like a haiku in novel form. So delicate and subtle that I feel like it deserves a re-read to take everything in. As a lover of Japan and Japanese culture, this book was a feast for the senses. There are more feelings than plot here though so it might not be for everyone.

Three words to describe it. Subtle. Descriptive. Evocative.

Do I like the cover? Yes, and it’s a double cover for double the beauty.

Have I read any other books by the same author? If you can believe it, no. Of course, The Elegance of the Hedgehog has been on my wish list for what feels like forever but the curse of the TBR has kept me from it until now.


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