Tending a garden was not what occupied poet Patrick Lane for the first six decades of his life. Forty-five years of drinking was occupation enough. But at age 60, he stepped back into the world of sobriety while seeding, planting, and watering the garden that became his passion and his salvation. Like Mary Oliver, Lane discovers that much can be learned from the natural world, and his exquisite powers of observation provide not only a source of wonder but a new vantage point from which to face the painful memories of his past. Fragments of his upbringing -- a nightmarish childhood in a small Canadian mining town, the early death of his brother, and the murder of his father -- spill onto the pages unbeckoned. "Somewhere there is a story that needs telling," Lane writes, and the story that emerges yields surprising lessons in both promise and regret.
Marriage, divorce, and estrangement from his own children are all part of what Lane remembers as he seeks to re-engage with life, using the tending of his garden as a metaphor for tilling the soil of his days. Adept at finding inspiration outside his back door, Lane has recorded these first few months of his newfound clarity without pity or sentimentality. A modern-day book of wisdom literature, What the Stones Remember is an extraordinary work, profoundly moving in its immediacy and courage. (Holiday 2005 Selection)