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Publisher's Summary

At 35, Leslie Buck made an impulsive decision to put her personal life on hold to pursue her passion. Leaving behind a full life of friends, love, and professional security, she became the first American woman to learn pruning from one of the most storied landscaping companies in Kyoto. Cutting Back recounts Buck's bold journey and the revelations she has along the way. During her apprenticeship in Japan, she learns that the best Kyoto gardens look so natural they appear untouched by human hands, even though her crew spends hours meticulously cleaning every pebble in the streams. She is taught how to bring nature's essence into a garden scene, how to design with native plants, and how to subtly direct a visitor through a landscape. But she learns the most important lessons from her fellow gardeners: how to balance strength with grace, seriousness with humor, and technique with heart.
©2017 Leslie Buck (P)2017 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Buck has as good an eye for cultural dissonance as she does for pines that need pruning...This is an absorbing read about the formative interplay of humans, cultures, and gardens." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By jess on 10-21-17

A Beautiful Journey!

Leslie Buck's account of her apprenticeship in Japan fascinated and challenged me. Her vision to live and work in another country, and to be trained in a discipline in which she was already accomplished, took humility, grace and courage. This narrative captured me. Leslie, like one of her trees, was nurtured, shaped, and at times shocked by the pruning of her personal journey. In Cutting Back she applies the principles of pruning to her own life which is the mark of a disciple, and shares them with us, which is the mark of a teacher. This book is an immersion in another culture and an account of personal relationships
that frame this very intimate story. If other cultures interest you, you will be fascinated by this book. If you hunger for a story of personal growth and persevering through adversity, read Cutting Back. If you are a gardener and want insights on the art of pruning in the Japanese tradition, you will be enriched. I just loved this story!!!!!!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Dragonfly Samurai on 04-07-18

This should have been an easy book for me to enjoy

Any additional comments?

This should have been an easy book for me to enjoy. I am really interested in Japanese culture. I enjoy gardening. This should have been a win/win situation. However I really struggled with the narrator Caroline McLaughlin. I stopped listening to the book about 40 mins in or so because the narration was not very good. Pros: she has a good voice. Con: She needs to work on her style of narration. The way she talked made me feel like a newscaster was reading the story. That's the best way I can explain it. I totally understand that narration is difficult, and I hope she improves as she hones her skill.

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