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The Crying Tree Paperback – 6 Aug 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Reprints edition (6 Aug. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330504800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330504805
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 228,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'This powerful book explores forgiving the unforgivable.' --Star magazine

'This is a gripping, well-paced tale, compassionate without being mawkish.' --Guardian

'It's a deceptively simple plot, but look closely and you'll realise the skill that's gone into the construction. Ends tie up - but not too tidily. Events have their own momentum and the plot never seems contorted to accommodate a situation. It's a book which will bear rereading.' --The Bookbag

'The emotional fallout from the murder of a young boy 18 years ago is the subject of this perceptive debut, which should please Jodie Picoult fans.' --Waterstones Books Quarterly

'An absorbing rumination on the power of forgiveness.' --Choice

'If The Crying Tree doesn't make you cry, you have better control over your blubbing than I do. This is an astonishing debut novel.' --Richard Madeley, Woman's Own

If you enjoy reading Jodi Picoult, you'll love Naseem Rakha. These are big themes for a new writer but Rakha knows what she's doing... The Crying Tree is, quite simply, a terrific story.'
--Judy Finnigan, Woman's Own

Book Description

Emotionally charged and beautifully written debut novel of hate, grief and eventual forgiveness

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a stunning book of great depth and tenderness. A family move across the USA hoping to build a new existence, but the son is shot dead in his own home. Soon after the killer is arrested, but spends many years on death row. Mother, father and sister are distressed, angry, and look forward to the day he dies, when justice can be seen to be done and revenge taken.
The years that elapse between sentencing and the planned execution take a heavy toll on the family, and each deals with it in different ways. As the years go by the feelings within each family member shift bit by bit, as do the relationships between them.
In a nutshell, that's about it then, with the odd surprising revelation along the way. If you're looking for a book packed with action, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a book with a variety of interesting characters who have depth and complexity, and who develop in an entirely convincing way then this is the right book for you.
Though there is much anger, frustration and loss recounted in the pages, there's also a haunting beauty. It asks penetrating questions about the nature of rules, of acceptance and authority, and what gives our life purpose.
Whilst struggling with difficult and weighty matters, the delightful prose remains delicate. Nowhere has the author allowed things to get bogged down, and a few carefully crafted images are often left to do the work other authors would require pages of description to accomplish. A novel that is thoughtful, literary and readable all at the same time.
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Format: Paperback
I actually purchased this book on a whim and I'm really happy that I did. It was almost Picoult-esque in its gritty subject matter, yet similarly had echoes of a book I read a couple of years ago by Amanda Eyre-Ward, also focusing on the same setting and was also a little bit reminiscent of some happenings in The Green Mile too. This is actually an incredibly well written novel on a tough subject matter, with strongly drawn characters and emotions that really kept me turning the pages.

A brief summary: teenager Shep was only fifteen years old when he was shot and killed during an apparent robbery at his family's home. Nineteen year old Daniel Robbins was charged with the brutal murder and languished on Oregon's death row - whilst Shep's family were left behind to pick up the pieces. His mother Irene especially has a hard time coming to terms with her son's death and facing up to being left behind and so begins her inner search; are her religious beliefs strong enough to overcome her hatred for her son's killer? Nineteen years later she might have her answers as the date of Robbin's execution is on the horizon...

As I've said, this is a well-written novel on a difficult subject. The only thing I have to say that irked me about this novel was the constant references to Christianity and the power of prayer, but being an atheist that is a matter of personal preference, and it wasn't heavy enough to put me off the book. Forgiveness and compassion is a strong underlying thread in the book and is handled very successfully.

I will also say though that there was some indication at the beginning of the book that things *quite* weren't what they appeared from some happenings that were vaguely alluded to, so to some degree this book was a little bit predictable.
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Format: Paperback
There's a saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."
There's not a lot of laughing in this book, but given that Nate Stanley's aim in heading from Illinois to Oregon is to sort out what he sees as a problem likely to divide his family, it's difficult to see how it could have gone more catastrophically wrong. A murder, a legal case which drags on for nearly two decades, and the remnants of a family unable to communicate with each other.
In a way, all the characters in the story are derailed from what they might have expected of life, and the interest of the narrative is in how (or whether) they manage to make something of what's left.
Nate appears least likely, since he's obsessed with the events which led to his son's death, unable to move on. His daughter Bliss sets herself single-mindedly to becoming a state prosecutor, determined that no one should ever get away with what her brother's killer seems to have done. Her mother, Irene, is brought lowest, before she picks herself up and sets out on what forms the main part of the story, although even that leads to a further derailment when the truth about her son's murder finally comes to light.
Outside the family, we have the convicted killer, Daniel Robbin, who has of course been thrown farthest off course by the events of one afternoon. He's no innocent, as he admits himself, and he doesn't make any excuses. Eventually, though, he takes charge of his fate in the only way that is really open to him.
Then, too, the superintendent of the prison, Tab Mason, responsible for arranging an execution when there hasn't been one in the state for years, so all the horrifying details of the 'procedure'have to be worked out from the ground up.
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