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The King in the Tree: Three Novellas
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The King in the Tree: Three Novellas

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  252 ratings  ·  23 reviews
From the author of "Edwin Mullhouse" and the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Martin Dressier" come three dazzling novellas about the many shapes of love.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 18th 2003 by Knopf
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Christina Wilder
3.5 stars.

As this book is essentially three novellas, I'll review them as such.

The first story, "Revenge", truly shines. The main character, who has been wronged in the past, enacts a chilling vengeance. I don't even want to go into it using spoiler tags as I really think you should read this story. It's mesmerizing.

The second, "An Adventure of Don Juan", does not live up to the first story, but it certainly is memorable. What I enjoyed about this story was that it didn't attempt to portray Don
Sofi A
Finished the first story. Revenge. Incredible! Did not expect that. I give it 5 stars. Finished An adventure of Don Juan, the ending.. i saw it coming. But the story was entretaining and i liked the charecters. 3.5 stars. Finishedthe last story. The king in the tree. A story about Tristan and Ysolt from the point of view of Thomas, the king's advisor and King Marks perspective. Pretty good but full of people knowing that something is wrong and doing nothing about it which irritates me. 4 stars. ...more
Billie Pritchett
Steven Millhauser's King in the Tree is a collection of three novellas: Revenge, An Adventure of Don Juan, and the eponymous King in the Tree. Only the latter story felt like it deserved to be of novella length; the other two stories could have been edited down to short story-length to greater effect.

I don't know exactly what to say regarding the stories in the collection. I am a fan of Millhauser's short fiction, having loved almost everything I've read by him. Two stories that come to mind are
James Murphy
This is another book I've had a long time, at least 5 years. Millhauser has written 3 novellas about love and relationships. In 2 of them he pushes aside the veil obscuring legend or myth to reveal characters made round and human. It's here that we meet Don Juan in hell, more of a wounded Fisher King than aggressive seducer. "The King in the Tree" tells the foreground of the King Mark, Tristan and Ysolt legend, before the lovers flee the kingdom. The opening story is a pained monologue of a woma ...more
Katie M.
Ack, this came SO CLOSE to being a really great book, and just didn't quite make it. It's three novellas, the first of which is so jarringly different in tone and subject matter (though they're all ostensibly about deception - which is true, but that's still not enough to smooth over the gaps) that it really detracts from the work as a whole. The second story is probably the most solid of the three; the third is beautiful but unfortunately consists of so much betray-forgive-betray-forgive that p ...more
Three tales of love as told by three characters standing in its shadows: a betrayed wife, a thwarted Don Juan, and a tormented king. I'm becoming a Millhauser fan, I think. His work is unique in that any given story either comes from or arrives at an undeniable truth in the dark. The stories with their keenly imagined details and impeccably wrought narratives startle and stun.
Dora Okeyo
I liked: the first novella, really got my attention with a tour of the house and all.
Would I recommend it: Yes, it has quite a lot to tell on disappointments, betrayals and memory- quite a read if you have time like a weekend or so.
The good side of it: 3 Novellas in one. I love novellas.
Award: 3 stars, one for each novella for sharing a character's world in their own way.
Three novellas on the theme of the tragic love triangle. The first, "Revenge," is Millhauser at his most emotionally effective. Despite the artifice in Millhauser's writing, he still manages to lure the reader into connecting with his lovesick characters. I'd compare it to how Wes Anderson's films have sympathetic characters despite the dollhouse-like settings.
The first novella, Revenge, was told in an interesting style and had a compelling storyline. The second, about a Don Juan character, was good but I didn't feel its power until the very end. The third was poetic and tragic, but it felt like reading about my best friend's tribulations with her on-and-off boyfriend.
This collection of 3 novellas was recommended by a friend and I loved every page of it. Exceptional writing and story-telling, especially his interpretations of Don Juan and Tristan and Isolde. Seriously, read the title story and you'll forget that the James Franco movie ever happened!
Steven Millhauser is a genius. I quote a lit professor of mine when I say, ever word does work in Millhauser's writing. Nothing is wasted. I got a little bogged down in the middle novella about Don Juan, but the other two completely engaged me. Loved it.
Just upgraded my rating because I can't stop thinking about this book. It has three stories each of which are memorable. I don't know what to say about it, other than I haven't started another book so as not to erase the memory of this one.
Aug 07, 2008 Kyle rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like cheap romance novels
I'm a big Millhauser fan, but this book is severely disappointing. It is drippy and sentimental and seems like a cheap imitation of his usually fantastic writing. Its mediocrity actually made me angry. What happened, Steve?
Margaret Lewis
I registered a book at!
Great writing but overall the stories were too long-winded and just not interesting enough to hold my attention.
So far nothing else I've read of his has held a candle to the first 90% of his amazing novel _Martin Dressler_.
Adam Rodenberger
While certainly not his most engaging work (personally), Millhauser's writing and style are still top-notch.
The title story was 1st printed in the New Yorker magazine. Another great collection of short stories.
3 superb novellas. mostly about love betrayal and revenge
This left an overall impression of languid passivity.
Three short stories...go read them right now!
Yana Kravtsova
I liked the first novella the best.
Peter marked it as to-read
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Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer Dangerous Laughter Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer 1943-1954 by Jeffrey Cartwright The Knife Thrower and Other Stories The Barnum Museum

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