Thursday, 7 January 2021

Flower Phantoms

Ronald Fraser - Flower Phantoms (Valancourt Books)
Ronald Fraser
Valancourt Books

A fey art-deco girl who works in Kew Gardens finds that her spiritual yearnings lead to a passionate mystic communion with an orchid.

Sir Arthur Ronald Fraser (1888 - 1974) was a diplomat and as author with 27 novels and ownership of a New Age healing and meditation centre to his name and an author photo that makes the last fact all the more improbable sounding but Fraser had a lifelong interest in Buddhism which is eminently apparent in this short novel, the story of a young woman engaged in a passionate and deeply spiritual love affair with an orchid in Kew Gardens.

The story opens tentatively as we are introduced to Judy and her pompous, stuffy and overbearing businessman brother Hubert and Roland, her ardent but ineffectual suitor but as Judy's world becomes subsumed within her growing fever for the plants she tends and the horizons opening up to her it becomes ever more expansive and florid.

With echoes of other early works of female empowerment such as Sylvia Townsend Warner's fabulous 'Lolly Willowes' Fraser weaves a wonderfully strange and psychedelic tale that explores notions of cosmic harmony and interconnectivity alongside more prosaic issues as personal expressions and independence into a story that is as witty as it is poetic and as delicate as it is bold.

Buy it here - UK / US.

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