Troubador The Invitation to the Garden

Released: 28/09/2018

eISBN: 9781789011074

Format: eBook

Review this Book

The Invitation to the Garden

A Mystical Journey in Five Paradoxes


Written over the course of 25 years, The Invitation to the Garden is a spiritual journey described in verse and prose. The books tells of Joanna’s struggle to make sense of her faith while suffering from recurring anorexia and severe depression. This heartfelt story of self-development begins in the ‘jungle of life’ and leads to the garden of the title as readers follow Joanna’s passage from fear and darkness into light and love. 

The book is set out in a series of paradoxes, each of which offers readers an insight into Joanna’s learning experiences. As the story continues, readers witness how Joanna begins to understand her suffering, daring to trust and finally coming to terms with her illness. The book is narrated mainly in verse, with prose flashbacks to childhood interspersed throughout. Joanna’s own watercolours on the covers illustrate each section of the story. 

Inspired by the poetry of George Herbert, John Bunyan and T. S. Eliot, The Invitation to the Garden teaches valuable lessons that will apply to a wide variety of readers. The book will be especially interesting to readers who have also suffered with eating disorders, depression, or other mental health problems.

A Reflection of God by Joanna Tulloch
This collection of one hundred and one poems and reflections is a treasure. The first section offers poems from Joanna’s inner journey, the second contains reflections on scripture and icons, and the final section gives us poems reaching out prayerfully to the world. Joanna writes poetry as many of us breathe (although one poem – By Beckley Mast p.25 - reveals the anguish when the poems do not come). The book is both a companion for the soul and a resource for those who lead worship.
These poems and meditations are real and speak from soul to soul. They trace a movement from fear and darkness to the light and love of God in which the imperfect self is held in the grace of God. Joanna might call this a movement from jungle to garden. This is not an inevitable movement for we have to choose it, and choose it again and again.
Some of her phrases are exquisite: 'Dapple me daffodil' (p.13), 'Like a spaniel with soft mouth you picked me up' (p.35). I love the word-play in many of the poems. Flagging (p.26) means both a flagging spirit and the tattered flags of prayer which yet attract God’s attention.
Joanna’s poem Conveyancing (p. 67) provided the key to focus some writing of my own. She speaks of the new home for the body, post resurrection: 'The train that takes us there stops at every station.' This image of a train journey where the stations must be travelled through one after the other, with no short-cuts, was precisely the image I needed. I think this is why these poems and meditations are so powerful. They question and connect with our own experience of anguish and of God’s grace. There is meeting.

Revd Bob Whorton: Chaplain, Sir Michael Sobell House, Oxford.

A simple, useful guide. J an a writer and have more than the basic level of understanding but this book still had helpful and insightful tips that I have picked up and used. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an entry level text on the subject.

by NetGalley review

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