since 1989, in her fiction and non-fiction, Elizabeth Stromme has done the digging
photo Liz Stromme

 

 

THE UNDERGROUND GARDENER SIX FEET UNDER

Our friend Liz left us on December 7. Here are some remembrances. If you'd like to add yours and share with the rest of us, please e-mail: contact - at - undergroundgardener.com

    The Los Angeles Times: Elizabeth Stromme, 59; novelist, gardening writer

    Elizabeth Stromme, whose noir novel "Joe's Word," set in her longtime community of Echo Park, was published in French seven years before it debuted in English, has died. She was 59. Stromme, who was also a gardening columnist with a political bent, died Thursday of gastric cancer at a relative's home in Guerneville, Calif., said her husband, Philippe Garnier.
    [...] On her website, undergroundgardener.com, Stromme posted columns on such topics as the dangers of uniformity in the horticultural market and the need for home gardeners to learn to coexist with bugs.

    Minneapolis Star Tribune: Writer Elizabeth Stromme dies at 59
    "She saw her work as a challenge to the establishment," said her sister Karen Christensen, of Piedmont, Calif. "She had strong convictions about biodiversity." [...] After college, "she got busy being a rebel," said her husband, of Echo Park, Calif. Later, he said, "she fell into her career."
    Libération (in French:) L'irrespectueuse Elizabeth Stromme pose son stylo
    "Ecolo, raisonneuse, agitée du bocal... Bref, une emmerdeuse.» C'est ainsi qu'était campé le personnage d'Hattie en quatrième de couverture de Gangraine, le premier roman policier qu'Elizabeth Stromme publia en France en 1994 dans la Série noire de Gallimard. Y avait-il de l'autoportrait dans l'air?"
    Le Monde (in French:) Elizabeth Stromme, romancière et journaliste américaine
    "Sa vraie spécialité, c'était cet art d'inventer des histoires gaies, presque primesautières, sur des sujets graves qui font aujourd'hui le tout-venant des gros titres de la presse. [...] Elle voyait le mal partout, et elle avait raison."

 

 

 

title fiction

Stromme's new novel "Plunder in the Grass: A Botanical Garden at Work" -- still in manuscript form! -- has just been optioned by the filmmakers Scott McGehee and David Siegel ("Suture," "The Deep End," "Bee Season") and their production company Kino-Korsakoff, Inc.
"Plunder in the Grass" is a fictionalized expose about the seizure by multinationals of the world's natural resources, aided and abetted by the nonprofit sector behind the benign facade of plant conservation.

AT LAST !
STROMME'S FICTION IS PUBLISHED IN HER OWN COUNTRY!
"JOE'S WORD: AN ECHO PARK NOVEL" came out in October '03 from City Lights Books. Her fiction has also been translated into French and published by Editions Gallimard and by the newspaper Le Monde.

REVIEWS OF "JOE'S WORD" IN THE U.S.A., U.K., AND FRANCE, CLICK HERE

FOR BOOK TOUR LOCATIONS AND DATES, CLICK HERE.

WHERE TO FIND STROMME'S FICTION:
Look for "Joe's Word" in English at your local, independent bookstore, at Barnes & Noble, Borders, or order directly from City Lights or Amazon. French translations of both novels can be ordered at Amazon.fr.

WHAT EXACTLY IS A WRITER-FOR-HIRE ?
For the short answer click here.

           
  cover Gangraine

AGAINST THE GRAIN/GANGRAINE.
(Editions Gallimard, Serie Noire, 1994; re-issued in Folio Policier, 2002).
A hard-boiled noir novel about seed savers, agribusiness and biodiversity, "Against the Grain" unearths a growing sub-culture and connects it to a world of institutionalized power.

Excerpts, reviews, etc. click here.

 
           
  cover Joe's Word

L'ECRIVAIN PUBLIC (FRENCH EDITION OF "JOE'S WORD" )
(Editions Gallimard, La Noire, 1999. In its second printing.)
A writer-for-hire working in L.A.'s inner city finds his emotionally-distanced world jeopardized by a client's taste for mail-order brides.

Reviews, etc. click here.

 
           
 

THE BASEMENT/LA CAVE
(Le Monde, August 19, 2000; republished in Le Bout du Monde, Editions Gallimard, Serie Noire 2001).
An old, marginalized woman in the Malibu Hills has to fend for herself when her husband dies and leaves her broke. WARNING: You can't get darker, nor more underground.

Complete text of the short story in French. Click here.

 
 

 
  title: non fiction

Stromme's non-fiction has appeared in the U.S. in the Los Angeles Times, Buzz Magazine, Garden Design, Pacific Horticulture, The Southern California Gardener, the American Gardener, the Silver Lake Press (now known as the LA Alternative Press) and most recently, the San Francisco Chronicle; and in France, in Libération and Les Inrockuptibles.
Below is a sample of published and unpublished pieces.

 
 

GARDEN STAKES
Clones, seed strains, laboratory sex: how does uniformity in the horticultural market affect you, and why does it matter? Chauncey the Gardener, in Hal Ashby's classic film "Being There," would have a reassuring answer. For a more reflective response, click here

SEEING RED
In 1998 Stromme wrote a critique of artist Robert Irwin's Getty Center garden for Garden Design; here's the unabridged, more corrosive text that explores the dangers of conceptualizing nature, and being funded up the yin-yang. Click here.

 

 

THE COLOR OF MONEY
In early 1994 Stromme took an oblique look at the booming gardening market -- and the powerful economic forces behind it -- by examining the pages of a representative gardening magazine. The article is still wildly relevant. It's never been published. Until now. Click here.

 

 

PAYDIRT
Everyone's doing it: tearing out at least a part of the lawn and installing garden beds instead. But read this piece before digging in those sacks of commercial amendments. Is radium in them? A case is made for soil so good it can't be bought. Click here.

 
 

 

THE UNDERGROUND GARDENER MONTHLY COLUMN*
JUICY GARDENS
Succulents have sap, all right, but vitality is not the least of their charms. A little digging unearths the extent of their remarkable utility. Thumb-suckers, Malibu movie stars and the lovelorn, especially, take note. Click here.

PREVIOUS COLUMNS : Click here.
* Stromme no longer writes for the Silver Lake Press/LA Alternative Press.

 

 

 
  SKETCHES
Stromme's been rambling since she was young, carrying sketchbooks and pencils from Baja to Afghanistan.
On the road: Stromme's sketches of a recent trip to Italy have been published in the French newspaper Libération.
Click here.
When she's not on the road, she draws from her own backyard. Click here.

SCRAPS
Odds & ends Stromme has dug up from her personal life. Click here.
Odds & ends from Stromme's political side. Click here.

 

 
 

The Underground Gardener is not ready to commit yet to answering individual gardening questions, but would like to hear your comments and concerns.

 
 

3 AM Magazine
Entre2noirs.com

 
 

 

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Last updated 12/19/06