A Robot in the Garden
A Robot in the Garden is about a man named Ben who discovers a robot in his garden. The robot, who calls himself Tang, behaves like a petulant child and takes Ben on an international adventure to find his creator. Ben, who had recently lost his parents and whose marriage was failing, has nothing to lose by traveling. And in Ben’s travels, he learns how to grieve, move on, and grow up.
Deborah Install’s novel is not just about a man and his robot. It’s a multifaceted story that addresses human emotions as well as some robot ones, too. Ben’s journey with Tang makes him become more intuitive, realizing that he had yet to properly move on from his parents’ deaths and discovering that he had not been particularly compassionate toward his wife, Amy. Ben also realizes his obligations to others by caring for Tang. While Ben and Tang’s story moves forward, it flashes back to moments between Ben and Amy that make Ben a rich, compelling character. In addition to a deep and engaging story, the novel addresses the ethical concerns between human intelligence and artificial intelligence.
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