Anna's Reviews > The Red Tree

The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan
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Mar 06, 12

bookshelves: horror
Read in August, 2009

The story is written as Sarah's journal, colouring the pages with her flawed perspective, and in fact a false editor's preface introduces the work as the posthumous ramblings of the novelist in the final months of her life. In journal form, it's a very different reading experience than a more traditional novel. The narrator is unreliable, and grows steadily more so as the story continues. There are big holes wherein the reader is expected to extrapolate, as best they can, what happened, what may or may not be true.

Interestingly, this is one of the book's strengths. In the fractured, rambling entries, we actually get to know a truer picture of Sarah Crowe than we otherwise might have had, and the fear and dread she spreads on most of these pages open up the possibility of more without defining what "more" might be.

The Red Tree is very atmospheric. I labelled it as "occult", because there are some implications, although I suppose the book is really more gothic than anything else. It evokes a sense of dread, of dark possibilities, more powerful than any gorefest.

People who like to have the story spelled out for them, beginning to end, with a satisfying conclusion that wraps things up should give this one a wide berth. If you're interested in something moody and supernatural, though, maybe a little out of the ordinary, this might be what you're looking for.
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