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book cover of marchelle Farrell's nature memoir Uprooting

Uprooting – From the Caribbean to the Countryside

Marchelle Farrell’s Nature Memoir Uprooting – From the Caribbean to the Countryside is an emotional search for a place to put down roots. Farrell grew up in Trinidad and goes to England to study. There she meets her husband and, after much deliberation, they decide to move from Oxford to the Somerset countryside with their two children. As readers, we accompany Farrell during her first year in her new place of residence. She is trying to get settled in the village and in the face of all the challenges this brings with it, her garden with its little stream and plants becomes a source of strength for her.

Farrell has a special gift for observing details – in her garden, in herself, and in global historical contexts – and recording them eloquently. Her country life begins in winter, and in her decrepit house, the heater breaks. In the spring, the first Corona lockdown follows. In the summer, George Floyd is murdered. Farrell recounts the cold, the fear, the anger and the pain these events cause her. She looks back into her family history, which will forever remain unclear as it is heavily influenced by colonialism and the trade in enslaved people. Farrell realizes how contradictory it is for her to settle in rural England. But she doesn’t try to recreate the home of her childhood or imitate English gardens. In the autumn, her garden is in bloom, and along with the bouquets of flowers and the many blossoms and herbs for tea, she also harvests her first homegrown vegetables. She finds a surprisingly warm community in her village and manages to create something new – not only in her garden.

Farrell shows how complex the issue of belonging is for her. It isn’t just about place, but also about the consequences of intergenerational trauma and social power relations. In her book, she doesn’t shy away from addressing the painful aspects of her reflection process at length. But ultimately, Uprooting conveys a feeling of (self-)care and a contagious love for plants.

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