Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha

The Crying TreeThe death warrant arrived that morning, packaged in a large white envelope marked confidential and addressed to Tab Mason, Superintendent, Oregon State Penitentiary.

Title: The Crying Tree
Author: Naseem Rakha
ISBN: 9780230739543
Publisher: Macmillan/2009
Pages: 353

Irene and Nate Stanley's son Shep, has been murdered in their Oregon home, apparently in a robbery. A nineteen year old man Daniel Robbin gives himself up for the said murder and after nineteen years he is given the death sentence, that is to die by lethal injection. It ought to be a happy day for which any parent whose child has been brutally murdered awaits.

When Irene comes to know of it, she is somewhat disturbed by the news. Unknown to her family, Irene has forgiven Daniel and has also started writing letters to him, getting replies from him too. They had become friends of sorts. She is unsettled to know why Daniel had stopped appealing against the death sentence.

When she tells her family of her deeds, they are shocked by her revelation and she too is is stunned by the secrets her husband had kept from her all these years. She also wants to know why Daniel didn't mention any of it in his letters to her. Maybe he wanted to spare a mother.

Their family almost falls apart. Her daughter Bliss, now a public prosecutor, an expert on capital cases tries to help her mother meet Daniel before he is executed. How does it help both? What really happened that night? How is GDaniel connected to their son, Shep? Irene has to find answers for those and with her forgiveness, she sees redemption. For Daniel, her husband, herself and Shep.

It is not a easy read. The loss of a child is not easy to accept, not for the reader either. And initially we hate Daniel. Slowly our views change. Was he responsible for the killing? What made him go to the Stanley family that day? Why did he give himself up? Why did he stop his appeals? Fo a man who has no recall of a family, with a troubled teenage years, worst is assumed. Is it right?

The title speaks out. Under the Crying Tree, Shep is buried and the book ends with Irene coming back to that very place. A fitting end?

Naseem has tackled it very well, she has the power to pull in the reader. With as difficult as this book, it still can't be put down. And I kept thinking about the book long after I finished reading. That I think is part of good writing. To write a book which stays in mind. At places, it creates such vivid images. Thanks Naseem, for the ARC.

The book gets released on 7th July, 2009.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good conversation starter when discussing capital punishisment.

serendipity_viv said...

This definitely sounds like a hard book to read. I don't know if I could read about a child being killed, as I get so upset with these types of books. But the story really is an intriguing one. Great review.

bermudaonion said...

Wow, sounds like a powerful book.

Beth F said...

Wow. Sounds like a tough book to read but worth it.

The Reading Momster said...

Great Review! Sounds tough to read... but worth it anyways

Sandra said...

Wow, as Cathy said. It does sound like an interesting and powerful story. Thanks for reviewing it, I hadn't heard of it.

Kaye said...

I just finished this book Saturday and thought it was one of the best written books I have read this year. I couldn't put it down either. Incredible look at family dynamics. Loved the book.