The Evil Garden
(Pomegranate, March 15, 2011)
Great-Uncle Franz, beside the lake,Is being strangled by a snake.The peaches, apples, plums, and pearsAre guarded by ferocious bears.Alexa watches while her auntIs pulled feet first inside a plant.A happy, naive family enters the Evil Garden (free admission!) to spend a sunny afternoon in its inviting landscape, lush with exotic trees and flowers. They soon realize their mistake, as harrowing sounds and evidence of foul play emerge. When humongous hairy bugs, famished carnivorous plants, ferocious fruit-guarding bears, and a sinister strangling snake take charge, the family's ominous feelings turn to full-on panic—but where's the exit?Edward Gorey leads us through this nefarious garden with a light step. His unmistakable drawings paired with engaging couplets produce giggles, not gasps. Perhaps The Evil Garden is a morality tale; perhaps it's simply an enigmatic entertainment. Whatever the interpretation, it's a prime example of the iconic storytelling genius that is Edward Gorey.