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The Lion Trees, Part 2: Awakening

4.57  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  27 reviews

What if survival required you to unlearn who you are? How far would you fall to save yourself? Sometimes happiness is a long way down.

The Johns family is unraveling. Hollis, a retired Ohio banker, isolates himself in esoteric hobbies and a dangerous flirtation with a colleague’s daughter. Susan, his wife of forty year
Paperback, 804 pages
Published August 2014 by OTF Literary
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4.57  · 
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 ·  44 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ties that bind us – A review of the novel ‘The Lion Trees’

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” - John Lennon

As I finished reading the novel which fully deserves that loosely and widely used epithet ‘magnum opus’, I realized that The Lion Trees was much more than what it claims to be and definitely wiser than what I could comprehend in the first reading. And yet, it is those first impressions that matter most of the time and of which I’m about to share with you. As I close
Danielle Tremblay
I won this 2 books in GoodReads giveaways in exchange for an honest review.

I won't summarize them. Other did it very well. I suggest you to read this review:
It gives a very good idea of the story and this author's masterful talent.

Mr Thomas knows how to show us his superb writing skill. This story slowly makes us feel like we're a member of the Johns family. I don't think that it would work so well if the story was shorter. You need to immerse yourself in
Jan 10, 2017 added it
I didn't know how I was going to find another book to read after finishing The Lion Trees, Parts 1 & 2!! Loved the author's style, loved the suspense, the various characters and their individual life experiences, and in-depth realization of modern day sequences that kept me needing to know what came next! So many possibilities, so many disappointments, but then the surprises and endings! One of my favorite reads ever.
Lillian in Alaska
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
With constant urging from a friend, I finally agreed to take on a sizable piece of fiction entitled ”The Lion Trees”. She assured me it was even screenplay-worthy and a book we would enjoy discussing. In her words “This is a winner!”

SO “The Lion Trees” it was, and what a ride it turned out to be! It almost took over my life as I had trouble putting it down. The novel invites you into the personal lives of four members of the Johns family, each in the midst of his and her own private upheaval. Bu
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All book club readers and lit-fic lovers
Shelves: novels
This two-volume juggernaut is an orgy of literary yummy - and way more fun than a serious work of fiction has a right to be. I’m always looking for a novel that has it all: credible characters, an entertaining story line, suspense, humor, good writing, something unexpected, a satisfying ending, and a meaningful theme. It’s a tall order for any author, so I was surprised to find the whole package in a debut novel.

“The Lion Trees” unfolds in four interwoven narratives. The Hollis chapters are told
Robert Osborne
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Owen Thomas's new two-volume novel, The Lion Trees, arguably lacks the "increasing economy of expression" that he attributes to the writing of one of his central figures. However, it is precisely the Socratic detail with which he examines the lives of his characters, the leisurely and time-shifting unpeeling of the onion layers of their personalities, that makes these books such a worthwhile pleasure to read. A lesser writer could have set forth declarative statements of existential philosophy w ...more
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
THE LION TREES' characters are so vividly imprinted that, as soon as I finished Volume I, I started it over because I missed being with them. If you like to underline the great parts of books or to fold corners over, you will want to order the paperbacks.
From its first lines, Owen Thomas leads readers on a challenging, mysterious, and laugh out loud search for some kinds of Truth. Right away, we care - from The Mother of Katrina on into David's strangely compelling rat modes and missteps. Many o
Irene Adam
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book is a two-volume epic. It is a story about a dysfunctional family and their relationships. The youngest boy is a special needs child with Down’s syndrome. I love the author’s accurate portrayal of Ben, the youngest child, his innocence and sense of humor. The parents have been married for 40 years and are individually going through what might be called a late mid-life crisis. They are products of the 60s, t ...more
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. What a literary delight Owen Thomas has given us! Why this book isn't on every popular must-read list out there I don't know. Possibly the length of the book intimidates people, which it shouldn't. I was amazed at how fast this book flew by. Excellent writing with wonderful character development. I "knew" these people as though they really lived in my world, which they did every time I picked up this book. I knew them and cared about them. ...more
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I was very lucky to receive this book for free from giveaway.
I reviewed the first part of the book and I can say the same about the second part. So I'm not going to repeat myself (review can be found here: I can just add that if I could give six stars to this book I honestly would.
This story was a wonderful jorney and wonderful experience. And it was the jorney itself not the destination what mattered. Of course plotline was interesting
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Given To Me For An Honest Review

The Lion Trees: Part Two: Awakening (Volume 2) by Owen Thomas is the continuing story of the Johns family. Again this story is such a realistic story. It is very gripping and powerful. It has great character development. Since it is so soulful, humorous and meaningful I have to say it's not a must read it's a HAVE to read.
Each family member's story is very important on it's own but since the family is connected in a lot of ways, all of these characters are compell
Destiny Brown
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary Read - Not Your Ordinary Family Saga

The Lion Trees by Owen Thomas is a great new literary fiction piece. Don't let the length of the story scare you off. Take your time. Enjoy every page. Don't rush, don't feel overwhelmed. Sit back, relax and join one dysfunctional family's story.

Complex, entertaining, exhilarating, entertaining.

The author has done an amazing job at developing his characters. Readers will feel like they are a part of the story. Mr. Thomas has an amazing sense of
Diana Sue
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It received this book for free in exchange for an honest review and sadly I didn't read the first book prior, that being said, I can't imagine what could possibly be in the first book as this one seems to have it all. I've held off on my review because I want to do it justice, but it left me rather speechless. I LOVED THIS BOOK!! Enter a most dysfunctional family where no one shares any common traits. Along with distinct and warped personalities, there are criminal situations that you can't poss ...more
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book from the author for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Wow...this is a REALLY good book! It's a lengthy book, but well worth the read, and I'm sad it's over. It was so refreshing to read something so well written and out of the ordinary. I could put this book down for days and be able to get right back into it with no problem, even though the book goes back and forth between 5(?) dysfunctional family members. These characters will stay with you for a long time. I highly reco
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Difficult to write 2 separate reviews when you have read both parts one after the other. Great book. Thought provoking. In part one I didn't really like any of the characters. However, midway through part two I was rooting for them all and really hoped life worked out for them. Shame it ended with no chance of a part 3. Loved it.
Owen Thomas
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote it, so I'm just a little biased. But seriously... it's not half-bad. I only used 26 different letters and just over 1,616 numbers. For anything more substantive, I refer you to other reviews. Enjoy.
Laine Cunningham
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Lion Trees by Owen Thomas

Available from OTF Literary

This novel has garnered an eye-popping number of awards. I appreciate knowing up front when a book has won at least one award or been shortlisted for an honor but that generally doesn’t impact my impression. It might, in fact, lead me to anticipate a better-than-average reading experience, which sets me up for disappointment if the work doesn’t meet my personal standards.

The Lion Trees did not disappoint. The awards this novel (or diptych o
Apr 07, 2015 rated it liked it
This is an interesting story about a dysfunctional family. Every member has his or her own problems, which come out in the two part story, as we follow them. Get to know Hollis, a man filled with himself, and Susan, a martyr who has spent her life taking care of the family. They are a married couple of 40 years, each seeking the right path in their falling apart marriage. In addition, there are three children: Tilly, the budding actress “wanna-be” trying to change people’s perception of her, Dav ...more
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This set of two books was very kindly sent to me two years ago by the author. They have sat on my bookshelf, intimidating me with their sheer size, ever since. Well, I am glad I finally screwed my courage to the proverbial wall and cracked the first book open.
Immediately it became apparent that Mr Thomas possesses a large vocabulary and is not afraid to use it. I was drawn right in and the number of pages ceased to trouble me. Peppered throughout are brilliant examples of a type of dry humour th
Shawn Remfrey
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home-library
If you read my review of The Lion Trees Part One, then you already know how profoundly I've been struck by this book series. Sporting over 1600 pages, I didn't even bat an eyelash as I picked this one up. It took me fewer than six hours to devour the entire thing. After reading the first one, I was incredibly anxious to pick up where the Johns family left off, as well as continue my own journey into self-knowledge and I definitely was not let down.

As we continue on, we find that though everyone'
Gina Schwartz
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When reviewing the first half of this novel I had remarked that the novel was too long. It is a very long novel with a great deal of reading but it is a superb story.

The novel is about a family - there are few characters outside of the actual family - that is in crisis. Each member is dealing with a life changing event which has him in crisis unknown to the others who expect normal behaviour amid some very abnormal circumstances. The author shows his skill in the development of these circumstanc
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
ARC from Netgalley for an honest review

I will review both parts together but will rate them separately: 5 starts for Unraveling, 4 for Awakening.

It is a great book, with wonderful cadence and distinct voices for each narrator. Rather long, sure, but well worth it.

Timeline is a bit vague, but in a way it adds to the experience, with Tilly's POV being a memoir and others following the events more or less as they happen.

Characters' memories throughout the book had the dream-like feel, and I liked
Linda Marie Marsh
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was selfish. This is a 2 book series and the first one i read aloud to my husband. It took awhile.... and was well worth it.... but hell, when we finished i scurried away with book 2, The Awakening, like a mouse hoarding cheese and read it on my own. At least i am confessing...AND letting YOU know just how good Owen Thomas' writing is.

Written in chapters in turn in the voice of each family member in both books, you'll understand each one and shake your head simultaneously... What amazed me was
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, favourites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tanya Searle
Oct 17, 2015 rated it liked it
I feel like I have been living and breathing this book. The Johns family has been a part of my life on and off the past 10 weeks (including part one). I don't know if I want to slap every single character or hug them for everything they went through. I must say I enjoyed part 2 a lot more than part 1. All of the ridiculous decisions made by the characters in part 1 became clear in Awakening. Overall the characters annoyed me, parts bored me but it had enough for me to endure over 1600 words.
Aug 20, 2015 rated it liked it
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This is a story about a dysfunctional family. The characters are very well developed and you can even relate to them in someone you know. That's what makes you continue to read. But the story gets very long and just long. I did complete the two part book but found myself being lulled to sleep over the constant flow of words. I believe this is a good story and could and would have been much more enjoyable in a shorter version.
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The intellectual journey continues in Part 2. I encourage you to settle down for a tantalizing multi-course meal, this isn’t a trip to grab a burger at the drive-thru.

Read an interview with the author here:
Nur Farida ismail
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Dec 10, 2014
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Owen Thomas is a life-long Alaskan and avid reader. He has written three novels: "The Lion Trees" (which has garnered a dozen book awards, including the Amazon Kindle Book Award, the Eric Hoffer Book Award, the Book and Author Book of the Year, and the Beverly Hills International Book Award); "Signs of Passing" (a novel of interconnected short stories, and winner of fourteen book awards, including ...more