The Seed Collectors

by Scarlett Thomas

List Price: $16.95
Paperback | 5.9 x 8.9, 396 pages | ISBN 9781619029514

Great Aunt Oleander is dead. To each of her nearest and dearest she has left a seed pod. The seed pods might be deadly, but then again they might also contain the secret of enlightenment. Not that anyone has much time for enlightenment. Fleur, left behind at the crumbling Namaste House, must step into Oleander’s role as guru to lost and lonely celebrities. Bryony wants to lose the weight she put on after her botanist parents disappeared, but can’t stop drinking. And Charlie struggles to make sense of his life after losing the one woman he could truly love.

A complex and fiercely contemporary tale of inheritance, enlightenment, life, death, desire and family trees, The Seed Collectors is the most important novel yet from one of the world’s most daring and brilliant writers.

A searing family saga with dollops of magical realism, The Seed Collectors is an exquisitely nimble novel about self-knowledge, love and self-love, and the many ways we shape our lives.

—Claire Fallon, Huffington Post

This prickly, brilliant novel has it all: family tensions, forbidden love, infidelity, adventure, humor...The Seed Collectors is both literary and compulsively readable."

Huffington Post

[Thomas’] newest novel, The Seed Collectors, is laugh-out-loud funny for pages at a time. As British reviewers noted, it fits securely into the great tradition of the modern British comic novel... Thomas is more interested in rubbing words and ideas together and seeing what sparks they throw off than in telling stories that reinforce what we already think and end happily for likeable characters.

The Millions

We’d recommend keeping your eyes on this author.


Scarlett Thomas is one of my favorite contemporary novelists working today. Her books are always smart, funny, and contain just enough weirdness to let you know there’s more going on than meets the eye. The Seed Collectors is no exception. It’s the best novel I’ve read this year.

—Brad Lennon, Harvard Book Store (Cambridge

A wonderfully wacky and vibrant novel of an extended family’s rise and fall. Following the death of great aunt Oleander, the matriarch of the Gardner family, the cousins find themselves scrambling with revelations that will remake the family tree. Saucy, sassy, unabashedly debauched in that English comic tradition, and richly peopled, Thomas has written a delightfully unpredictable novel, something very much unlike the usual suspects.

—Toby Cox, Three Lives & Company (New York

Thomas succeeds in creating a funny yet poignant tale that is as much about yearning for connection as it is about seeking enlightenment. Kudos to her for penning a splendid novel that blends botany, philosophy, and mystery.

Library Journal, Starred Review

[A] hyperbolic, raunchy, hilarious immersion in the connected lives of some intensely imperfect people... Thomas is a literary star in the United Kingdom. She should be in the United States, too.

Kirkus, Starred Review

Acclaimed British writer Thomas uses a large cast of dysfunctional characters to explore concepts of connectedness and responsibility. With equal parts family saga, intriguing mystery, and existential foray, this magical tale of love and illumination will keep readers on their toes.


Ebullient prose, engaging characters, lively imagination, illuminating details -- Thomas is an original, and her novel is consistently entertaining.

Publishers Weekly

The Seed Collectors is entrancing: it’s a sharply observed contemporary novel of real people and real plants and real desire and real hurt, and it’s somehow also one of the sharpest fantasies I’ve encountered. A sour-and-sweet delight.

—Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods

Simultaneously sharply-drawn and dreamlike, often hilarious, The Seed Collectors is a baroque family saga of human fallibility, love, eccentricity, sex, spirituality, and of a lost, legendary, coincidentally lethal route to absolute transcendence. Scarlett Thomas is a splendid novelist.

—William Gibson, author of Neuromancer

Scarlett Thomas is one of my favorite writers ever and The Seed Collectors might be her best yet. She fuses the comically everyday with a far-out botanical adventure in ways which are brutally funny and profound all at once. Barbed, casually genius,
philosophical and intensely readable. A joy.

—Matt Haig, author of The Radleys

Her prose is splendidly alive, full of unexpected phrases and delicious cadences . . . like Pratchett, Thomas blends her flippancy and her philosophy perfectly. A fantastical family saga.

The Guardian

Scarlett Thomas has a skillful way of blending fantasy and realism . . . The Seed Collectors is consistently enjoyable.

Financial Times

She has woven her distinct brand of mystery and intrigue into a complex family saga.

The Observer

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