Sorrow's Garden

A Novel

Fiction - Drama
271 Pages
Reviewed on 08/06/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Anthony Carinhas is an award-winning author with a knack for staying unusually busy. Whether that's being a paralegal from the University of Texas at Austin, teaching creative writing workshops via Airbnb Experiences or clinching a certificate in the Science of Well-Being from Yale University on Coursera, there isn't a challenge he's not willing to confront. He loves cult films, dystopian stories, abstract art, industrial music, and boating whenever possible. He believes sunshine is the best medicine on long road trips because all journeys ease the deepest tensions. His deep love for naturopathic alternatives in health, staying away from television and drinking unfiltered ciders are all activities he's willing to lobby for. Fitness and nutrition are also staples in his everyday life just as much as writing is. As an open-minded individual, he loves unique adventure, all things nostalgic even when trendy, and fierce candid conversation in the hopes of enlightening peoples' lives.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

The Sorrow's Garden: A Novel by Anthony Carinhas is set in the period just before World War II. Radulf Berliner is a compelling character in the way he is developed and in his personality, an architect and writer in Leipzig, Germany. If he hates one thing in people, it is their selfishness and mindless behavior and this is reflected in his treatment of Franziska, a girlfriend whom he claims threatened to tell everyone he is a fraud if he broke up with her. He puts her in a very embarrassing experience, with paintings of her nude pictures found in a men’s restroom. But he is worse than what he hates in others —a surprising irony! The reader encounters a character who is manipulative, intimidating, and who embraces duplicity. He lives by the philosophy that no one should ever turn against him, so he puts fear into people’s minds to keep them under control. This is a strong narrative with themes of art, education, relationships, manipulation, and murder.

Anthony Carinhas is a great storyteller who transforms the ordinary experience of characters into fodder that nurtures the plot and makes it exceptional, infusing it with realism and humanity. While I detested the cockiness of Radulf and his manipulative nature, I enjoyed how well the author explored this aspect of human nature, and this reflects the way of life of the society that produced this character. No doubt, the sense of humanity would be put to the test with the rise of the likes of Hitler. The prose is beautiful and given that it explores the theme of art, the aesthetics in the writing are just fitting for the genre. The Sorrow's Garden: A Novel is one of the finest novels that diligently and expertly explore the pervasive aspect of human nature, with a protagonist that curiously engages readers, a man who finds creative genius in the adrenaline rush from stress. It is captivating and hugely entertaining.

K.C. Finn

The Sorrow’s Garden is an intriguing tale of manipulation by author Anthony Carinhas. This relatively short novel chronicles the activities of Radulf, an architect and writer living in Germany. Radulf is in a state of constant trauma about the fact that he has no real moral compass in his psyche, and he vents this frustration by viewing the world as a generally selfish place. In a kind of desire for revenge, Radulf perfects his skills in manipulation, gaining the trust of victims he selects. Exploiting their innocence and dreams with his promises and illusions, Radulf’s actions reveal shocking truths about the trusting nature of humanity, and about our own perspectives on what’s actually real in the world in which we live.

Anthony Carinhas portrays a frank and disturbing slice of reality in his novel, and though this is a short read, it is one that has stayed with me since I finished the last page. It’s safe to say that Radulf is a sadistic predator, but the beauty of Carinhas’ prose is that the reader is able to interpret his motivations for themselves. Entering the mind of the villain really skews with the morality of the story as a whole, making us as conflicted as the characters in the plot. The Sorrow’s Garden is a clever book that will appeal to people who love a twisted logic, but it’s also highly suspenseful, tense and oddly erotic. I’d advise, however, that you try not to become attached to the characters or invest in their happiness at all!

Deborah Lloyd

In 1925, Radulf Berliner was a first-year student at The Bauhaus School, a prestigious art school in Dessau, Germany. While maintaining his status as first in his class, he was involved in numerous sexual exploits, with no regard for the women. Narcissistic qualities, mixed with a lack of moral beliefs, were germinating. However, he received protection from Walter Gropius, the founder and director of the school. By 1938, Radulf was living in Leipzig, Germany and was an accomplished architect and writer. At the same time, his immoral escapades went in a more treacherous and sinister direction. Illustrating how creative genius and madness sometimes occur simultaneously, author Anthony Carinhas has crafted a thought-provoking fictional work in The Sorrow’s Garden: A Novel. As Radulf ages and finds more success, his behavior becomes more chilling.

There are many intriguing aspects to this novel, in addition to the character development of Radulf. The relationship with his parents is a contributing factor to the lack of moral development within Radulf. Although the sex scenes are graphic, this also demonstrates how the main character views women as objects. The time period, between two world wars and the growing popularity of Hitler’s Nazi propaganda, is also significant. Radulf’s travels to Vienna and the United States add another interesting element. Other characters in the story, including Emeric and various women, are viewed through the lens of Radulf. The Sorrow’s Garden, written by Anthony Carinbas, engages the reader from the first page to the last. A fascinating read!

Rabia Tanveer

The Sorrow's Garden: A Novel by Anthony Carinhas is a dark psychological thriller centered on a man who likes to play mind games. Radulf isn’t a nice guy; he is smart, he is charming but he isn’t really likable. He likes to get what he wants and he likes to get it whenever he wants. So when he has his eye on Klara, he knows that he needs to make her his. She is smart, sexy and very attractive, so it makes sense for Radulf to want her. He isn’t shy so he is ready to do whatever it takes and lie however much to make sure that she pays attention to him. She is a game that he wants to play and conquer and Klara has no idea what he is planning. Can she get away from him before he sinks his teeth in too deep?

This story made me think about things that we all do. We are all guilty about judging people about something wrong, but we do that too. The lack of sympathy/empathy that Radulf had for other people makes a very unique yet universal character. The author doesn’t hold back when it comes to sharing Radulf’s thoughts and actions - raw and unedited - and this allows you to have an unfiltered reaction to everything. What scared and impressed me the most was how real everything felt. Radulf could be anyone I know, he could be the man on my bus or he could even be my friend. I think it is very clever how the author made Radulf such a believable and approachable character; even if he is despicable, you will not be able to stop reading about him. He is interesting and I believe the author spent a considerable amount on perfecting him. Considering that this is a historical novel, it is scary how you can easily imagine yourself in a situation similar to Radulf's. This is a mind-boggling story yet very entertaining! I enjoyed it a lot!

Asher Syed

The Sorrow's Garden: A Novel by Anthony Carinhas is a historical suspense and literary fiction novel that is set in Germany and New York in the mid 1920s to late 1930s, as the Gestapo raid and arrest the family of even the most famous and a twistedly brilliant man named Radulf becomes consumed by a woman named Klara. Narrated in the first person, Radulf Berliner, a serial killer who has rapid cycling through night and day terrors, sexual aggression, and moments of eerily profound clarity, the book allows Radulf to divulge the whole of his story in succinct and straightforward exposition.

With his novel The Sorrow's Garden, Anthony Carinhas has written a book that is what I would expect the love child between Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho and Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr Ripley to read like. Cynical and completely deadpan in the delivery, Radulf migrates through his life entirely bankrupt of principle while asserting the use of a higher road among others. For all the ferociousness of his sexuality, he describes the encounters with all the panache of a tepid glass of milk—and it totally works. It thrives. It keeps a reader plowing through the pages. This isn't going to be the book for everyone, but I'm grateful to have picked it up and discovered a new author to fanboy over.

Ruffina Oserio

The Sorrow's Garden: A Novel by Anthony Carinhas is a powerful novel with strong moral and psychological underpinnings, a story filled with irony as it follows Radulf Berliner, an architect and writer in Leipzig and his unique yet disturbing way of dealing with peers, leaders, and people while working on his project in a reputable institution. This is a man who hates people who cheat and who are selfish, but ironically, his own way of life is dubious. He doesn’t hesitate to inflict pain on others while he talks lightly about it. But there are far more sinister things this character is capable of doing to keep people from standing against him, and one of them is instilling fear in them. But then he is a man who can kill without remorse.

This is a well-written story with a beautiful setting in German locales before the outbreak of WWII. The setting comes out beautifully in the writing — no doubt the work reflects architecture. There are very compelling characters that are skillfully developed like Radulf, Gropius, Franziska, and many others. The encounters of other characters with the protagonist only help to highlight his eccentricity and selfishness. This is a character who is nasty, manipulates others, and who is very calculating. The story reads realistically, the mind of the protagonist is deeply explored and relationships in the story are well-defined. The writing is beautiful and the plot is cunningly woven with suspense that makes it gripping, with strong themes like love, a sense of belonging, relationships, and even murder. One thing that kept me turning from page to page was my curiosity to find out if this character could get away with his shamelessness. The end will surprise readers. The Sorrow's Garden: A Novel is a literary masterpiece.


I've read this amazing book a while back (twice) and I have to say it is a vibrant and immersive yet dark take on the character development arc. I would highly recommend a read.