The Crying Tree Paperback – 4 Sep 2009
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'This powerful book explores forgiving the unforgivable.'
'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 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.'
Emotionally charged and beautifully written debut novel of hate, grief and eventual forgivenessSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
The subject matter is emotive - the loss of a child is a terrible thing and the writer has done well in pulling you in to the family grief. However, I think my personal problem was that I didnt find the characters that likeable to begin with - the only one I really felt any empathy for was Bliss, the daughter left behind as the sole child of the family. HER grief and eventual need to move past it resonated with me. That character is the reason I give the book 3 stars and not 2.
Certainly I can understand why it has so many rave reviews - some people are going to "feel" this story more than others, it just didnt quite get there for me.
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.Read more ›
This book really gave an insight into how forgiveness can help with the healing process in a difficult and sad situation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Chapters alternate between present day (2004), and when the murder took place (1983-1985). I thought this story was focusing on Irene Stanley, on her coming to terms with the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rachel (Confessions of a Book Geek)
Irene and Nate Stanley have a happy family life with their two children Bliss and Shep. Tragedy befalls them when their son Shep is shot dead. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Tinalouise1969
Just love this book - just little sentences mean so much. How thought provoking and illuminating this story is - humbling and poignant. Recommend it to everyone.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
I enjoyed this and couldn't put it down. It was a crime mystery with a subplot and charcters who had flaws but were trying to hold it together in mnay different ways. Read morePublished 11 months ago by catsholiday
Really good read surprising subject matter with a few twists. GreatPublished 15 months ago by Pam Sykes
Not what I expected from the title but this book had me captured from the beginning. Haven't quite finished it but really want to know how it ends.Published 15 months ago by Kathy