In 2000, poet and writer Malmsten left the false promises, small-mindedness and cold weather of her native Sweden for the remote seaside French village of Finistère, "where the land comes to an end in Europe—fin des terres, finis terrae." If not engrossing, this memoir—about trying, unsuccessfully, to get away from the world—has a quiet and honest charm. At her new Brittany home, Malmsten putters in her garden and enjoys her solitude, but the project of writing a book about her time in Finistère forces her to express what she previously only had to live through. While commenting on petty but humorous annoyances like the high-priced resource of the title, her botanical struggles and her few ventures into friendship, Malmsten dwells on her happiness in the face of her leftist despair about the state of the world. The book moves with an episodic, sluggish pace but might appeal to both lovers of a quiet book about the garden and the more socially minded who struggle with "the guilt of the privileged." (Feb.)
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