There Is A Season

A Memoir

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Believed by many to be one of the finest poets of his generation, Patrick Lane is also a passionate gardener. He lives on Vancouver Island, a place of uncommon beauty, where the climate is mild, the air is soft, and the growing season lasts nearly all year long.

Lane has gardened for as long as he can remember, and sees his garden’s life as intertwined with his own. And when he gave up drinking, after years of addiction, he found solace and healing in tending to his yard. In this exquisitely written memoir, he relates stories of his hard early life in the context of the landscape he’s created. As he observes the seasonal changes, a plant or a bird or the way a tree bends in the wind brings to mind an episode from his storied past.

Lane writes evocative descriptions of the animals, birds, insects, and plants that are his garden, and of the relationship he has to them all. Accompany Lane as he wanders his garden, where botanical “madeleines” release in him a flood of memory.

From the Hardcover edition.


“If what we know is what resembles us, what we know is a garden.”

I stood alone among yellow glacier lilies and the windflowers of spring, the western anemone, their petals frail disks of trembling clotted cream. I was a boy and the mountain ridge I’d climbed was only a half-hour hike from...
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"To enter this book is to enter a state of enchantment."
–Alice Munro

“A tour de force that will break your heart and put it back together again.”
–Montreal Gazette

“[A] brave and beautifully written account… The sheer richness and beauty of the language is one of the great pleasures to be found in this book.”
Edmonton Journal

“Exquisite but terrifying.…There are passages in these chapters to savour like strains of Mozart.”
Ottawa Citizen

“Lane’s capacity for observing the details of nature on both grand and tiny scales is remarkable, and his highly sensuous descriptions often transport us into haunting regions of imagination.”
Globe and Mail

“There are many surprises in this book, but the biggest one is that Lane is a nature writer on a level with Annie Dillard, Getel Ehrlich, and Barry Lopez … Lane’s writing is brilliant … This book is going to win many big prizes, and it will reward readers all the way through.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“His lyric, seemingly effortless observations of living things drenched in light and water are mesmerizing. But like the hidden vodka bottles that surface in his garden like stones in a field, potent memories rupture the serene present.”
Quill & Quire, starred review

“Patrick Lane is a naturalist, a poet, a fearless man and an honest writer. But this memoir is more than the hard summing up of a life spent half in hell. Lane has gone to his garden and fashioned a field guide to the human heart.”
–Joe Fiorito, author of The Closer We Are to Dying

“Patrick Lane has written one of the finest memoirs ever published in this country – and I suspect in any other.”
–David Adams Richard

Patrick Lane's There Is A Season is the best book I have read in a decade. Lane's profound meditations on gardens and his own hard life are wise and deeply moving. Here is a classic memoir, wrought in prose as beautiful as the natural world that is his obsession and salvation.
–Guy Vanderhaeghe

There Is a Season is a masterpiece.”

“An achingly beautiful journey. . . . A pure gift to the reader.”
–Frances Itani, in the Washington Post