by Deborah Rogers –
Lorna Crozier’s Through the Garden – A Love Story (with cats) was a beautiful read, appreciated by our group for its openness and honesty. This memoir, published in 2020, tells the story of Crozier’s life with poet Patrick Lane. She started writing it in 2017 when Lane became seriously ill. It’s a book infused with love throughout; for her husband, for the life they lived together, for their shared passions, including the garden and cats of the title.
As anyone would expect from a Governor General’s Literary Award winning poet the writing is exquisite. There are poems interspersed throughout the chapters, and many of our group described the pleasure they took from them. Reading poetry requires you to slow down, to feast on each carefully chosen word – our readers enjoyed the opportunity the poetry gave to think and reflect as they were reading.
Many commented that they had felt privileged to be able to see inside this relationship (warts and all), that it felt like a gift to be witness to the poets’ love story. Some of our group felt perhaps there was too much candour. But the difficulties of facing up to a partner’s mortality resonated clearly for many, with the role and responsibility of the caregiver sensitively highlighted.
As Crozier lives locally we all enjoyed the descriptions of places that we know and love too. Her ability to locate the reader, whether in the wet, ivy-clad forest of the Saanich Peninsula, or the open landscapes of the prairies, is delightful. Through the dark months of Lane’s illness, Crozier reflects back on their first meeting in 1976; on the way that writing has shaped her life, and how her writing connected with his. There’s a wonderful description of the two of them working from their separate home offices, always able to push back their chair and see the other, to ask an opinion or for feedback. There are so many moments in the book like this that make you feel you come away knowing this relationship intimately. Many of our readers said they will be seeking out Crozier’s other works, and Lane’s too.
Our next meeting will be on Tuesday June 7, at 6.30 p.m. We will be discussing The Every by Dave Eggers. We hope to hold the meeting in-person at the Sidney/North Saanich Library’s Nell Horth Room. Sign up to our Book Club mailing list to stay up-to-date about upcoming meetings: seasidemagazine.ca/book-club