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Our Father Who Art in a Tree: A Novel

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  196 ratings  ·  30 reviews
“It was simple for me, the saints were in heaven and guardian angels had extendable wings like Batman and my dad had died and gone to live in the tree in the backyard.” So begins this richly metaphorical, deeply affecting novel about a family, and how loss and grief can be moved through and overcome.

In a voice reminiscent of Scout Finch, the narrator of To Kill a Mockingbi
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published February 4th 2003 by Random House (first published June 27th 2002)
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Jul 18, 2007 Sherrie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who have lost loved ones.
Shelves: 2006booklist
Simone, a 10-year-old Australian girl, loses her father to heart disease. Everyone in her family is consumed by grief and her only solace is climbing the huge Poinciana tree in their backyard because she has thought, "If you climbed high enough in the tree in our backyard you came to another world". Her suspicions are confirmed when she hears her father's voice in the highest branches. Simone tells her mother of this discovery and persuades her to climb the tree, where she too spends time with h ...more
A lovely story about a young family learning how to cope with the loss of their father. It's told from the point of view of the little girl who hears her dead father's voice coming from the large poinciana tree in their garden. Her mother climbs the tree with her and the conversations start...

As they talk to him, the tree grows and becomes destructive. The roots grow under the house and destabilise the foundations, as the father hangs on to his family and they refuse to let him go.

This is a mov
A beautiful and comforting story.

As I was cleaning out my messy study, I found some notes I'd written about this book, in connection with an essay on modern fiction and mourning, written for the Ames Tribune.

Simone loses her dad at age 10. The book begins: "It was simple for me; the saints were in heaven and guardian angels had extendable wings like Batman and my dad had died and gone to live in a tree in the backyard."

One of my favorite things about this book is that it talks about loss through
It is an interesting idea for a book, though it does show the signs of being a first novel. There are no surprises in the story, each plot point is telegraphed clearly ahead of time. It could be just me but at the beginning of the book it seemed to be written as if it was being told by the ten year old narrator at the time of the events, and by the end of the book it was apparent that it was being written by the same person at about age 30. Besides the narrator and the mother, the remaining char ...more
Anney Ryan
This is a surrealist story about exactly what the title says. The young narrator's father dies and instead of going to heaven, he resides in this tree in the backyard. At times, I felt the author took the surrealism a bit too far. But it didn't mar my enjoyment of the story. I definitely rushed through my students' papers so I could get back to this!
I'm not going to lie, I probably wouldn't have read this book if not for the catchy title and tasteful cover. Seeing things through the eyes of an innocent child has opened up my eyes to a lot of things and gave me a new perspective on my own mother. This short book was the perfect accessory for a quiet afternoon at the park~!
Young 10 year old Simone, lives with her mother and three brothers after having lost their father/Husband to a heart attack. Simone starts to hear her father call to her from the large tree in the backyard and there she is able to communicate with him. Eventually Simone tells her mother who also climbs the tree to talk. This story delves into mainly Simone and her mothers pent up anger and frears at having lost him, and situations which are beyond their control. It was a bit slow part way throug ...more
Becca Loo
this book was on the recommended reading shelf in the fiction section of the eugene library. everything else looked shitty and the first line of the book really sold me. i really like simple books. i usually hate long-winded descriptions of shit that's useless but this book needed all those descriptions and she did it well. the premise is that a young girls father dies and goes to live in the tree in their backyard. the girl tells her mother and her mother hears his voice up there and so they st ...more
Following her father’s death, ten-year-old Simone discovers he now lives in the tree in her family’s backyard. So begins a tale of grief and learning how to cope and move on after tragedy. The book starts off strong, but rather than let the story unfold naturally, Ms. Pascoe shows all her cards within the first few pages, giving what should be a simple but deep story an emotional flatness that undermines the serious subject matter. I discovered this Australian import by accident at the library a ...more
This wasn't quite as good as I'd expected it to be from all the hype I'd heard about it. A young girl, Simone, loses her father and watches her mother and brothers deal with the grief. Simone believes her dead father's spirit lives in a tree in their backyard.

From dust jacket:

"...Simone observes with candor and fresh insight the ways in which her mother, brothers, neighbours, and community deal with the death of her father. While her mother stares blankly into space, functioning only on the most
This tale is set in the heat of a Queensland summer.

Simone 10yo, and her brothers Edward, James and Gerard, lose their dad to heart disease when he's in his 40's. Everyone in the family is consumed by grief and Simone's only comfort is climbing the huge Poinciana tree in their backyard. She climbed right to the top, higher than she'd ever climbed before, and was amazed at what seemed like another world right up the top. Her suspicions are confirmed when she heard her father's voice in the highes
This is quite a quaint little book that Mark gave me last year and I had not read until now. It is the story of a family struggling to come to terms with the death of their husband and father. The 10yr old hears her father calling to her in the big poinciana tree beside their house and 'discovers'that she can sit up and talk to him. She shares this'gift'with her grief stricken mother believing it to be a comfort only to discover that it torments her mother further. I am always drawn to books on ...more

Judy Pascoe thought me to feel. I have never read anything like this before. It is beAutiful and it is sad. Yet I have been renewed by the reading of this most incredible work of art.
Loved the "spiritual realism" in this book. Didn't blow me away however. Though there were some lines at the end which made it all worth it for me. Great portrait of grief and living through it.
Líbil se mi obsah, forma už tolik ne. Úplně mi nesedl způsob vyprávění. Čím se ale kniha rozhodně může pochlubit jsou reálné chaaktery a velmi věrohodný průběh vyrovnávání se se ztrátou. Takže celkově 3* :)v
I read this on a stormy evening, which really helped in bringing the story to life. It alternates widely between grief and chaos and quirky fun. I liked it.
A touchingly well written novel.
O desaťročnej Simone a jej rodine, ktorá sa veľmi svojsky vyrovnáva so stratou hlavy rodiny. Jeho prítomnosť totiž našla na obrovskom strome na ich dvore. Takéto knihy mám naozaj rada. Aj na malom rozsahu sa udeje veľa a naviac príbehy očami detí majú svoje čaro. Smutné, zábavné, dramatické aj napínavé a s trochou fantázie. Viac som sa rozpísala na mojom blogu.
revisited the book following release of the film version 'the tree'. themes of grieving for a family who lose their father/husband in rural queensland. beautiful imagery of australian characters & the mystical living properties of the backyard tree that the family use to communicate with the dead father. loved it. very moving. the film is pretty good too but the book comes in first!
Dec 12, 2007 Melissa rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: tree-dwellers
I was drawn to this book by its gorgeous cover, but alas, the story did not live up for me. What was meant to be dreamlike and mystical came off scattered to me, and the ending really trailed off after the climactic storm. For such a short book, it felt like a very long read.
Shonna Froebel
Very odd novel.
The tree has such power in the book.
The girl character keeps saying that her father is in the tree not the tree itself, but it almost defies that. Her relationship with her mother is not discussed as much as it might be.
Kristine Morris
I highly recommend this book. It's a wonderfully simple tale of a family who comes to terms with the grief of losing their father - beautifully told.
I really like the premise of this story, but it never makes good on the emotional complexities promised by the concept.
Jamie L
Young girl's father dies, but when she climbs to the highest branch of the back yard tree, she can still talk to her dad.
L.r. Timmermann
A lovely book - well-written, moving and funny, with beautifully drawn characters.
Jan 04, 2008 Laurene rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Laurene by: my sister Caroline
This beautifully written prose comforted me while moving through my own grief.
Kendra Smith
The simplicity and poetic nature of this book drew me into its tale.
Not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn't it. Very rambly.
the concept was there but the writing did not shine through....
A beautiful little heartbreaking book.
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film of the book 1 5 Dec 29, 2009 05:53PM  
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Judy Pascoe was born in Brisbane, Australia and completed a degree in Journalism and Media Communications there before moving to Melbourne to join Circus Oz. She jumped ship in the UK and has since worked as a stand-up comedian, television presenter, script write and author.
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