Charlotte Weitze: Rosarium, 2021
This three-part family novel follows a sibling couple fleeing into the woods during World War II, a transgender botanist with a fascination for a very special rose and a girl who can live off sunlight because she was born with green grains in her skin.
Everyone has the different relationships to the plant kingdom, which also occupy a kind of main role in this novel. The siblings have to live by nature, the botanist examines and discovers it, and with the girl Figne, the boundary between humans and plants becomes uncertain, if not even completely blurred.
The book is filled with both factual and imaginative descriptions of plants as they are found in primeval forests, residential areas and laboratories, and many of the seemingly unlikely plant species and natural phenomena encountered in the book are completely real. The book has been thoroughly researched and even read through by a plant physiologist, so you learn something while at the same time being entertained by Weitze’s imaginative inventions.
The novel is genre-wise somewhere between magical realism and sci-fi, and as an acidic tale of the relationship between man and nature, it is an adventurous contribution to the conversation about the ecological crisis we are in.