and the Nine Plants of Desire
By Margot Berwin
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307390547, 304pp.)
Publication Date: June 1, 2010
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Lila Nova is a thirty-two year-old advertising copyrighter who lives alone in a plain, white box of an apartment. Recovering from a heartbreaking divorce, Lila’s mantra is simple: no pets, no plants, no people, no problems. But when Lila meets David Exley, a ruggedly handsome plant-seller, her lonely life blossoms into something far more colorful.
From the cold, harsh streets of Manhattan to the verdant jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula, Hothouse Flower is the story of a woman who must travel beyond the boundaries of sense and comfort to find what she truly wants.
Margot Berwin earned her MFA from the New School in 2005. Her stories have appeared on Nerve.com, in the New York Press, and in the anthology The Future of Misbehavior. She worked in advertising for many years and lives in New York City.
“The great escapist novel of the summer…. [A] shameless guilty pleasure of a romp…. An adventure combining the kinetic, cinematic razzledazzle of a Spielberg fantasia with the Mesoamerican metaphysical mojo of Carlos Castaneda…. [A] sultry, psychedelic summer soufflé of a read.” —Elle
“Dive into Berwin's lush debut novel about Lila, a weary New Yorker who's drawn into a world of quixotic strangers and exotic botanicals.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Margot Berwin makes a clever imaginative leap in her first novel, Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire, creating her own horticultural myth and then fashioning a lively… novel around it.” —The Boston Globe
“A psychedelic adventure.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Sensual, voluptuous.… Berwin vividly evokes the mosquito-loud, velvety blackness of a rainforest night.” —National Geographic Traveler
“Take two parts Carlos Castañeda, one part Sunset garden book, and top with a splash of Indiana Jones…. Shameless, sweet, and deceptively potent.” —Santa Fe New Mexican
“Seductive interludes and exotic adventures define Margot Berwin's Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire…. Berwin crafts an easy summer read that is a guide on plant mythology, spirit animals, curanderos (healers) and the mystery that can guide us to spiritual discovery, if only we open up to it.” —Austin American-Statesman
“[A] grown-up fairy tale full of mysticism, shamans, and animal spirits. Light and breezy, it’s also full of romance and some interesting observations from Armand about the meaning of life.” —Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“With its steamy title, you know [Hothouse] is made for summer reading—and Berwin does not disappoint.” —New York Post
“Fanciful and educational at the same time, Hothouse Flower provides a muggy escape to the jungle of the Yucatan Peninsula.... You'll enjoy this colorful escape of a novel.” —Charleston City Paper
“Berwin’s descriptions are as luxurious as the tropical plants themselves…. Scintillating…. Berwin combines her gardening knowledge with adept storytelling to weave together a tale of romance, adventure and intrigue that will enchant readers, green-thumbed or not.” —BookPage
“One original, entertaining novel!...[Berwin] is an intoxicating and seductive storyteller.... Packed with wit, humor, love, romance, and adventure worthy of Indiana Jones himself, this is a must read.” —Sacramento Book Review
“Great for anyone who loves outdoor adventure as much as lying on a sun lounger.” —Glamour (London)
“A young female ad exec gets down and dirty—in the garden, of course—in Margot Berwin’s sprightly debut novel. Journeying to the Yucatán in search of a collection of legendary botanical specimens, she encounters shamans and black-marketeers, and naturally, she blossoms in the end.” —Hemispheres
“Margot Berwin is equal parts fabulist, botanist, and comedian. I learned a lot from this delightful novel, and now I know just what to do the next time I confront a rattlesnake, a scorpion, or a strange but wise plant man in a Laundromat.” —Chris Bohjalian, author of Midwives, The Double Bind, and Skeletons at the Feast
“Nearly impossible to put down. This refreshing novel has an almost comic book sense of high adventure. Strange and improbable, Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire is unswervingly fun to read.” —Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay it Forward
Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org