Skip to main content

A Robot In The Garden by Deborah Install

Love doesn't have an "off" switch. That's the tagline of Deborah Install's new novel, A Robot In The Garden. 

You kinda know what to expect from the title. In this case, it's a robot called Tang, who has a lot of personality that is growing with time. Yet, as Deborah Install puts it, Tang was not 'born to be wild'. He was...'made to be servile'. But Tang has a problem. His cylinder is leaking, and there is a growing fear that it is only a matter of time before his time would be up.

And that was the impetus for Ben to help Tang. After he discovers him in the garden (correction, after his wife Amy discovers Tang in the garden), Ben goes into parental mode (something he has never really gravitated towards). But seriously, what would you do if you found a rickety robot sitting under a tree in your back yard?

For floundering thirty-four-year-old Ben Chambers the answer is obvious: find out where Tang came from and take him back to be repaired, even if it means risking his marriage in the process. Determined to achieve something in his life, Ben embarks on a journey that takes him and the endearing robot, to the far side of the globe and back again. Together they will discover that friendship can form under the strangest of circumstances, and that Artificial Intelligence can teach a man what it is to be human.

Deborah Install has created a story that is downright "real". From an android geisha, in a red kimono, complete with a black wig and white face, and dainty rose-red painted lips. A self-professed technophile, Deborah Install admits that the mechanics of Tang - how he was powered, whether he ate or slept - did not interest her as much as his personality. It's possibly this wonderful affinity that has resulted in this wonderful book A Robot In The Garden.

Naturally, you'd expect fans of blockbuster movies like Wall-e and ET to gravitate towards this book. And, they should. Moreover, we face societal angst over artificial intelligence becoming a reality in our lifetimes and even contemplate Ray Kurzweil's "Singularity" as a possibility -- these all make A Robot In The Garden a timely tome that manages to infuse a delightful dose of human and realism, making it charming and magical.

------------------------------------------- 
Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a branding blog: thinkblink.ca/blog, as well as a lifestyle blog: sukasastyle.com T: @SukasaStyle) 

A Robot In The Garden is published by Random House Canada, a Penguin Random House Company www.penguinrandomhouse.ca  

Comments