In Our Strange Gardens

In Our Strange Gardens

Written by:

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9781573229166
  • 176 Pages
  • Riverhead Books
  • Adult


In Our Strange Gardens was named a BookSense 76 Recommended Pick for January 2002!

Michel has a story to tell. It’s about his father, an exquisitely common man whose very ordinariness is a source of grave embarrassment for the boy. It’s also the story told to him by his uncle, who shared a family secret with the child in the flickering black and white images of a Sunday matinee.

Years before, in the bitter years of World War II, during the Nazi occupation of France, two brothers found themselves at the mercy of a German guard following an explosive act of resistance. Thrown into a deep pit with a small group of terrified prisoners, the men are told that one of them will die by dawn to serve as an example for the others. It’s up to the prisoners to propose who will be sacrificed. But in the middle of the night, the guard returns with an extraordinary proposition of his own.

A novel of revelation, innocence and ignorance, of the power of language and the strength and complexity of family, In Our Strange Gardens is a fable of nuance and power, a mesmerizing addition to the literature of war.


“This brief but bittersweet novel…left a lump in my throat.” —Baltimore Sun

“I doubt that there’s a reader who, after rocketing through this mesmerizing miniature of large implication, will not go back immediately to read it again.” —The New York Times

“Given the events of the last two months, Quint’s…parable about the often transitory and unpredictable nature of good and evil in wartime situations seemsespecially poignant and compelling…Readers won’t forget it.” —Publishers Weekly

“War, childhood, courage, memory…perfectly poised and moving…A jewel that warms the soul.”—Le Monde (France)

“A little gem of a book, tender and funny, that breaks your heart. Unforgettable.”—L’Express (France)

“The apparent simplicity of the writing…is deceptiveits density, its fusion of humour and tragedy, its economy of courage and farce, is the mark of a master.”—The Times (London)

“Magnificent.”—Elle (Italy)

“This book is admirable. A thousand times over…For the way it captures trials of conscience, about-turns, twists of fate.And what an ending.”—Journal du Dimanche

“A colorful, funny, poignant fable. Quint speaks of happiness, loyalty, friendship, he captures the humanity of characters whose dignity comes from their sense of what is right, from their humanity, their generosity. Give this to your loved ones, young and old, quickly”—Télérama