I loved this book and yet I hated it at the same time. I was going through and all was good when *wham* a huge plot twist happened that I did not at all expect. I actually threw the book across the room!! But I got up, picked the book up, and continued reading - to find that it was still a very excellent book.
Like all Sherri Tepper Novels, yes it does get preachy at times. But this book stays away from her feminist male bashing and doesn't preach too often. The story telling is strong and the format is unique and enjoyable.
An exciting and thought-provoking piece of "speculation fiction" about the relationship between humans and nature. I loved this book!
I'm a Tepper fan and a tree-hugger so this was great fun.
The Family Tree deals with all of the serious themes that Tepper is known for - ecology, overpopulation, etc... but does so in a very clever, funny way. The format is one of two seemingly unrelated, interleaved stories (one a contemporary drama, one an Arabian-Nights-flavored fairy tale) which merge about halfway through the book - some might find it a bit gimmicky, but I like it...
It's one of those books that it's hard to say much about without major spoilers, so I'll leave it at that!
The premise of this book is a little weird and a lot of fun. The suddenly sentient trees taking over the land and pushing people around was scary and fascinating. Isn't it something we would all like to see? Something greater than ourselves who has the wisdom to force us to behave and be decent to our fellows and treat the Earth with respect? Plus the people of the future are a hoot. Tepper gives little clues about these people as you read the book, still, it was so cool when their true natures are revealed. This is a really good and charming story, and even though it is a pretty long book, almost 500 pages, it is never boring and always interesting. I very much enjoyed it.
i REALLY liked this book!
as all the books that i have read by her, it meanders here and there, but is quite enjoyable.
partway thru the book is a major surprising revelation (no spoiler here)
that absolutely surprised me!
and kept me thinking, for months and months to come even after i finished the book.
i like books that make me think!
Just like 'Karen R.' I loved and hated this book all at the same time.
As far as 'preachy'goes, I don't think so. She has a foundation that she builds her stories around... Just like Stephen King, Charlaine Harris, Johathon Kellerman, or Sue Grafton. The reader is either attracted to that foundation, or moves on.
I happened to like the base of her books, and read them all. I was reading the books by Joan Slonczewski at the same time. If you like Sheri Tepper, she's a natural addition to you reading list.
I find them strong writers and needed to 'listen', to pay attention to what they were writing. Definately not bubble gum, or day at the beach. Well worth the time.
Sherri S. Tepper is a unique and entertaining writer. Her books are edgy, rife with enviromental and social warnings, yet hte story still shines through and over powers the somewhat overdone messages. Her characters are interesting, and this story in particular has a great twist. A must read!
Suddenly trees become rampant, growing at a fantastic rate to conquer any spare land, block roads, take over unoccupied rooms in houses, and possibly cause the disappearance of babies, always the fourth child (at least) of a family.
Police officer Dora Henry suspects the plague of trees began in the garden of the home she shared until recently with her husband Jared. Meanwhile, Dora is seeking a divorce from Jared and investigating the murders of three geneticists who were all working to develop intelligence in other species.
And far in the future, when technology has all but vanished, two princes and their followers find themselves on similar quests that willtake them back in time.
Dora will find out about the future. The trees keep growing . . .
By the award-winning author of GRASS, and GIBBON'S DECLINE AND FALL and the novels of The True Game with Mavin Manyshaped.
OMFG! Just read it, but not my copy, because I'm keeping it.
When I read the premise of this book, I was very enthusiastic about it and excited to read it. Female cop, investigating bizarre murders of three geneticists, and weird, spooky intelligent trees that are ruthlessly taking over large parts of the suburbs.......
Unfortunately, the actual execution leaves much to be desired. The "modern" storyline of Dora is the most interesting part of the book. She has a really bizarre husband and mother-in-law, and the storyline of how she ended up tangled up with these two was interesting, but it could have been more developed and explained in more detail of how and why an experienced, competent cop with great observation skills could fall into a shallow relationship with a nasty man who apparently just wants her to cook and clean for him. The author ends up doing some handwaving about how it was an easily broken "habit spell" that put her under his control. And it's not really clear why the bad guy wanted her in the first place. Something is muttered about her being a virgin and how he needs one for a spell, but that part of the storyline never pans out, and it ends up feeling like a empty contrivance. The biologist boyfriend was cool, but not nearly developed enough, and there doesn't seem to be much reason for him to actually be around...........
Parts of the fantasy storyline was okay, but I kept getting lost in all the different races, and found myself not caring enough to keep track of them all. I ended up skipping large parts of this storyline, which I rarely do, but most of that stuff just seemed to be empty filler without much effect on the plot. The most annoying part of the book, however, is the blatant political agends that the author is intent on hammering into the reader's head. The total lack of balance in the message was absolutely cringeworthy......
For instance, the trees, which are overall portrayed as understandable manifestations of mother nature just taking back what is hers, end up lovingly murdering babies and small children because their parents committed the sin of having too many kids. Very little is said about the parents of these kids, except for a few remarks about how some of them are whining about it a bit. They're pretty much portrayed as suburban yuppies who just got what was coming to them. While I have some sympathy for the idea of overpopulation, I'm pretty sure there are better solutions than quietly murdering kids. The fact that the heroine doesn't even really bat an eyelash that her beloved trees are committing such atrocious acts is monsterous. She just seems to shrug and say something about how she's sure they weren't in any pain when they died. Oh, well.
The last quarter of the book is just one big political agenda about women's rights and the environment. China Mieville has said that a fiction novel is a very inefficient and poor tool for promoting political propoganda, and I'm very inclined to agree with him. It just seems like the author could have gotten her point across better if she'd been more subtle instead of hitting the reader over the head with the Meaning of the Story. More time should have been spent making all the unplausible events feel realistic and less time on pointing out to the reader why talking animals are preferable to the scourge of the Earth that is humanity.
And lastly there was the issue of the SULTAN'S HAREM and its culture imbeded soo deeply into the future world and shoved down our throats as if that is the one perfect way to live in balance with everything. Of all the cultures and religions the future could bring, she, the author could have invented, she copies the worst of our past and presents it to us all polished and flawless on a silver platter as her own presentation of perfection.....
From back cover: "The once-fertile earth of Dora Henry's childhood has been undervalued and overdeveloped. Now nature has decided to fight back. Police officer Dora Henry is investigating the bizarre murders of three geneticists. Meanwhile, strange things are happening everywhere seh turns. Weeds are becoming trees, trees are becoming forests. Overnight, a city is being transformed into a wild and verdant place. Strangest of all, Dora can somehow communicate with the rampaging flora. A potential civilization-ending catastrophe is in the making. The nearer Dora gets to a murderer - and to the truth - the more seemingly disparate evetns beging to entwine. The answers she seeks today to the salvation of humankind may lie in a far distant future, one which is suddenly much closer than anyone imagines.
An exhilarating and enchanting novel that deftly combines fantastic invention with insight and a social conscience, from one of the most lyrical and important voices in comtemporary speculative fixtion...a perfectly marvelous book...."
The once-fertile earth of Dora Henry's childhood has been undervalued and overdeveloved. Now nature, apparently, has decided to fight back. Three geneticists have been murdered. Strange things have been occurring ever since. Weeds are becoming trees; trees are becoming forests. The strangest thing is that Dora can somehow communicate with the rampaging flora.