Flowers & Fruit

Colette, Author, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, Author, Robert Phelps, Editor Farrar Straus Giroux $14.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-374-15683-1
With their introductions, Phelps and Ward deepen one's appreciation of the 38 pieces in this collection. Written at various times in Colette's life, the exquisitely lyrical essays sing the praises of gardens au naturel in the French senseunaffected. Celebrating ""Rose,'' the author gives fair due to a regal, perfect flower but misses ``the blessed days of your imperfection . . . as God had made you, a little bitten here, a little rusted there.'' In ``The Gardenia's Monologue,'' that flower boasts of its heady scent, ``throwing the ignorant girl into a science I have taught her . . . and the round world reckons one more night of folly.'' Parts of the book were created during the bleak years of Nazi occupation, and a moving section is devoted to Colette's dreams of the abundant flower-and-fruit gardens she would have again, although she was in her 80s and near the death that claimed her in 1954. The author's love for all ``honest'' growing things contrasts with her disapproval, expressed with barbed Gallic wit, of fakes like the hybrid gloxinia, ``as big as a slop pail.'' (March 5)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1986
Release date: 03/01/1986
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