"Alone, the last of the sun on her skin, the moment took Claire back to her early days, peeling an orange as she walked through the rows of trees, dropping a confetti of rind behind her, eating the sun-warmed fruit, the girls small and playful as puppies, running in their coveralls through the trees--seeing eternity down the rows the long way, seeing only the bushy trees across--yelling, laughing, You're it! You're it! You're it!"
~The Forgetting Tree, Tatjana Soli
The Forgetting Tree is a novel about the life of Claire Nagy. Claire relinquishes her literary education to follow her heart when she marries Forster Baumsarg, the son of California citrus ranchers. Living on the ranch in Southern California, she develops an intense, lasting love of the land. Early in the book, Claire experiences a horrific, heartbreaking loss at the ranch. As time passes her entire family suffers, and she has ongoing problems with her two daughters, Gwen and Lucy, as well as marital difficulties. Even when Claire is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Claire's determined to stay on the ranch.
To be a good writer, you need to have style, and you need to have substance. Tatjana Soli's new novel is rich in both style and substance. Beautifully written, sensuous, and profound, The Forgetting Tree is a book about relationships, including the relationships you have with yourself and with your surroundings (in this case, the citrus ranch). The cast of characters in this novel--and I use the word 'cast' purposely because the book is cinematic--especially Claire, Forster, Gwen, Lucy, Octavio, Don, Mrs. Girbaldi, and, of course, Minna, enact a story that's haunting, offbeat, and surprising at times. Claire's caregiver, the mesmeric Minna, is a particularly alluring character; she helps Claire in numerous ways, and reignites Claire's "lost" love of literature. Claire aptly rereads Wide Sargasso Sea (a book I've coveted since reading about it on The Reading Life).
The Forgetting Tree features unexpected yet elegant illustrations by the author's husband, Gaylord Soli, which tie into the story well. I could go on and on about this new novel, The Forgetting Tree. Instead, I implore you to read it yourself, and provide a chance for you to win a copy of the book.
St. Martin's Press is generously offering a copy of The Forgetting Tree as a giveaway (U.S./Canada only).
- To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
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Enter by 5 PM PDT on Monday, October 1. One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, October 2.
Special thanks to Lisa from TLC for sending me an advance readers' edition of this book (and for this reason, the lines quoted above may be different in the final version of the novel). To read more reviews of this book, please visit the other stops on TLC's book tour for The Forgetting Tree.