"Lisle's writing reminds a reader of Capability Brown, a bit of Gertrude Jekyll, a bit of Katherine White." ~ The Los Angeles Times
"An elegantly written yet also edgily realistic account of small town, small garden life."
~ Kirkus Reviews
"As gardeners try to give shape to nature, Lisle's book does to a life, which is as challenging, complex and resistant to order as a garden. Her work will satisfy armchair gardeners as well as those already elbow-deep in dirt"~ Publishers Weekly
About Four Tenths of an Acre
Four Tenths of an Acre is the story of how Laurie Lisle turned a bare plot of land into her own miniature Eden while creating a fuller life for herself.
"When I fled the city for the country, I was so eager to buy a certain old clapboard house on the green of a historic New England village, that I didn't notice the awkward shape of the backyard," Laurie writes. "When I saw the surveyor's map, I was shocked at how very long and narrow a rectangle it was. I wondered how I could turn such an awful shape into a graceful garden.
In the following growing seasons, as I dug up rocks, planted, and weeded, trying all the time to soften the straight edges of my yard, I dug into my feelings about love and loss, work and play, roots and rootlessness, solitude and sociability.
As I wrote, this book became a modern pastoral about myself, village life, and the natural world. It also contrasted the easy pleasure of gardening with the more elusive satisfaction of writing.
I learned that the rituals of gardening give a rhythm, even rapture, to everyday life, that is apart from the routines of writing and the flows of relationships. Tending my garden became the same as taking care of myself."
Listen to Laurie's interview on the radio program, Between the Covers, and see photographs of where she works and where she gardens: