The Boys in the Trees

The Boys in the Trees

A Novel

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
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A tragic event sends a small town reeling in Mary Swan's brilliant, Scotiabank Giller-nominated The Boys in the Trees , a haunting exploration of one family's desperation. For the first time in Vintage Canada.

William, his wife and 2 daughters, new immigrants to a small town in southern Ontario, are the picture of a devoted family. But when he is accused of embezzlement, William commits an unthinkable crime, and those who believed him to be an affectionate, attentive father are brought up short. Mary Swan examines the intricate and unexpected connections between the people in this close-knit community that continue to echo into the future. In her nuanced, evocative descriptions, a locket contains immeasurable sorrow, trees provide refuge for lost souls and grief clicks into place when a man cocks the cold-steel hammer of a revolver.

A supreme literary achievement, The Boys in the Trees offers a chilling story that swells with acutely observed emotion and humanity.

ISBN: 9780345808035
9780805086706
0805086706
Characteristics: 207 pages ;,21 cm.

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p
Pisinga
Nov 21, 2013

Confusing. Sad. Didn't finish reading.

k
Karver
Oct 01, 2013

Read this book because of the brilliant review. Did not find it "mesmerizing". The plot jumps from one characters point of view to another, back and forth in time. I found it difficult to get into and not very captivating.

mayfairlady Dec 01, 2010

It takes a while to get into this one - interesting but not easy.

l
lisahiggs
May 16, 2010

"[L]ife wasn’t anything like one of those novels Jenny read … it stumbled along, bouncing off one thing, then another, until it just stopped, nothing wrapped up neatly. He thought of … things that had seemed so important, so full of meaning when he was twenty, or forty, and he thought maybe [life] was like one of Jenny’s books after all. Red herrings and misdirection, all the characters and observations that seemed so central, so significant while the story was unfolding. But then at the end you realized that the crucial thing was really something else. Something buried in a conversation, a description – you realized that all along it had been a different answer, another person glimpsed but passed over, who was the key to everything. Whatever everything was. And if you went back, as Jenny sometimes did, they were there, the clues you’d missed while you were reading, caught up in the need to move forward."

The story stumbles along, bouncing off one thing, then another, until it just stops, nothing wrapped up neatly. All the characters and observations that seemed so central, so significant while the story was unfolding, were red herrings and misdirection. At the end I realized that the crucial thing was really something else. Something buried in a conversation, a description – I realized that all along it had been a different answer, a person glimpsed but passed over, these nuances were the key to everything, to life. And if I read it again it would be better, because there they would be, the clues I’d missed while I was reading, caught up in the need to move forward.

Shortlisted for the 2008 Giller Prize.

j
jennturner
Jan 17, 2009

Interesting narrative; not a great read, but a good one.

samdog123 Jan 04, 2009

Thought-provoking writing that makes you really think about the events and how they happen in the plot line.

g
gailygirl
Oct 20, 2008

Mesmerizing read. Narrative weaves in and out of several stories.

c
Cabby
Mar 05, 2008

Costco best pick.

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l
lisahiggs
May 16, 2010

"[L]ife wasn’t anything like one of those novels Jenny read … it stumbled along, bouncing off one thing, then another, until it just stopped, nothing wrapped up neatly. He thought of … things that had seemed so important, so full of meaning when he was twenty, or forty, and he thought maybe [life] was like one of Jenny’s books after all. Red herrings and misdirection, all the characters and observations that seemed so central, so significant while the story was unfolding. But then at the end you realized that the crucial thing was really something else. Something buried in a conversation, a description – you realized that all along it had been a different answer, another person glimpsed but passed over, who was the key to everything. Whatever everything was. And if you went back, as Jenny sometimes did, they were there, the clues you’d missed while you were reading, caught up in the need to move forward."

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