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The Late Interiors, May 2011

“The most soulful garden book—also out of Oregon, a testament to more good things emerging from all that rain—is Marjorie Sandor’s memoir The Late Interiors: A Life Under Construction. This book covers her passage into middle age, as she falls in love with a colleague, leaves her husband, shares custody of a daughter through adolescence, buys and renovates a house, fights off a ravaging real estate development and packs up the contents of her aging mother’s beach house. In his mid-40s, her lover undergoes terrifying emergency double bypass surgery. Sandor sits in the hospital and listens to the suction machine, “oddly comforting, a little like the small stone fountain at home.

“Through it all, she gardens—and proffers nimble meditations on healing, friendship, literature, architecture and music. The faded green of old wallpaper brings to mind “the sharp intense odor of the arroyos” of her Los Angeles childhood, and with it, a smell “that makes me almost dizzy with longing, … geosmin, literally earth smell.” Her gardening mirrors her writing habits: “I putter, make little gestures in a disorganized way, … and eventually … something appears.” You won’t find design advice or planting tips in The Late Interiors. What you will find is a simple answer to the question, Why bother? Over the centuries, around the world, we have always come home to one truth: Gardening sustains life, love and happiness.”

Dominique Browning, New York Times Book Review