“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 Mockingbird, Simone observes with candor and fresh insight the ways in which her mother, brothers, neighbors, and community deal with the death of her father. While her mother stares blankly into space, functioning only on the most basic level, and her older brother buries himself in schoolwork, Simone conceives the idea that her father’s spirit lives in the tree in the backyard. She can go out there, climb up and sit in the tree’s branches, and listen as her father talks to her. It is only when Simone’s mother takes on a suitor that a confrontation is forced between the power of the past and the hope of new life in the future.
Rich in understanding about the power of love, the spirit, and belief, imbued with unexpected truths about people’s deep levels of connection and feeling, and written in prose that combines lyricism with rare humor and insight, Our Father Who Art in a Tree is a wonderful debut novel that deals in a profound and unusual way with some of the eternal themes in fiction, and in life.
About Judy Pascoe
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Published February 4, 2003
by Random House.
Literature & Fiction.