Curious Incidents in the Garden at Night-time


I was in a strange head space when I wrote this. I’d come out of a very stressful period at work, as well as lots of trauma in my personal life. I’d taken a break from work and started reading lots of stuff about global warming. Not necessarily a good idea as it led to me becoming quite depressed. I read the Mark Lynas’ book High Tide and several other books about the subject. I also read Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything and realised how much there was to know about our world and how little I knew. I then set about reading books about evolution and extinction and started work on my fiction.The book is about loss and loneliness – two emotions I was experiencing at the time. It’s an attempt to see how someone in love with a particular type of animal suffers a kind of loss because that animal is threatened by extinction. What happens when you lose the thing you love? Many commentators have started to describe our current geological era as the Anthropocene. An age defined by the harmful activities of man. There are five great extinction events in the history of evolution – all caused by extreme natural phenomenon; The sixth is being caused by man. Edward O Wilson has described the period that will follow this extinction event as The Age of Loneliness. How do we as human beings cope with such a loss?I wouldn’t call this book a novel or a novella. It’s a very long short story combined with a practical gardening book. I think I invented a whole new genre when I wrote it. Some reviewers said they had never read anything like it before. I hope that’s a good thing. I was very pleased with the response I got from reviewers because it’s a very personal book. Garden Answers magazine picked it out as their favourite Christmas title when it was published in 2005. It is illustrated by my gardener friend Chloe Ward, whose drawings bring another element of charm to the book.

Reviews for Curious Incidents

Truly delightful and quirky, this little book would appeal to all…devastating and simple…an extremely moving narrative…the perfect tool for introducing to those who have until now ignored it the downward spiral that many species and our planet are facing through climate change. This book should be added to the National Curriculum reading list with immediate effect – Kate Needham, The Organic Way, the membership magazine of Garden Organic

A book at bedtime for anyone with a passion for gardening Alan Titchmarsh, Daily Express

A passionate celebration of the biodiversity and wildlife on our doorsteps. Perfect for gardeners who love a good yarn Tony Juniper, Friends of the Earth Executive Director

Curiouser and curiouser… A totally different approach to what writing can be. It gets a thumbs up from me for being so low tech and I loved its intimate quality… It made me want to spend more time in the garden at night Greenfuse at Foodtrain

This is a delightful, evocative, thought-provoking story that invites the reader not to mow, but to plant swathes of night-scented stocks and foxgloves, and set up watch for the Cinnabar moth and the Pipistrelle bat – Organic Life Magazine

This is a magical book. It rewrites the rules on everything, not least how to write books. The more people who are touched by this book, the more hope there is for the survival of endangered species – not least our own. I count myself honoured to have read it first. I love this book Gaby Bartai Bevan, Editor, Organic Gardening Magazine

Unlike any other book you’ll ever read, Curious Incidents is a must-read for combat-ready eco-warriors and misty-eyed garden dreamers everywhere Wiggly Wigglers

This is a practical gardening book but it’s also a novel as well as an environmental fable. Whatever the label, it’s an intriguing and unique insight into nocturnal plants and animals. A delightful book Garden Answers Magazine

A genius use of design, innovative subject and exciting references to Wales, this book is one of a kind The Big Issue

[The book’s] inspiring storyline makes it an easy read that stops you feeling powerless to change the course of events Ethical Consumer

…a highly original piece of work Country Smallholding

This is an extraordinary book – you may love it or you may hate it! It will open your eyes to many things… It is a strange and interesting book, I think unlike any other I have ever read Jenny Steel, wildlife gardener and author

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