* The Seed Collectors by Scarlett Thomas

The Seed Collectors features a complicated family, so complicated that the author provides a revised family tree at the end of the book, once filiation issues have been exposed, but even then she cannot represent the shadowy relationships that complicate matters further. The story starts as a great-aunt dies and leaves a curious botanical heritage to her various plant-named relatives. And so it starts, with a very thin plot flitting from relative to relative. One is a compulsive eater and shopper, so we get pages of shopping expeditions. Yawn. Many more pages are dedicated to the sexual fantasies of the various characters. Double yawn. Every once in a while, there is a vividly, perfectly captured moment: of a gentle boy urging his anorexic sister to just eat, please, of a misbehaving electronic toothbrush, or of misbehaving in a corporate seminar. But there are very few such moments.


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