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Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA)
A Rich Stew
The effects of tragedy and healing growth through relationship with the land and with a companion steeped in mystic beliefs form the backbone of this lush, dramatic novel. Wonderful storytelling.
Kathrin C. (Corona, CA)
A Beautiful and Tangled Orchard
Right within the first 20-30 pages the reader will be drawn irresistibly into an ever-changing orchard of characters from differing backgrounds and cultures facing inexorable desires, devastating losses and dark fears. So many stories within stories. . . Tatiana Soli’s rich writing style never lets go. Read it and let your mind explore Claire and Forster Baumsarg’s challenges and transformations and, then sometimes, even one’s own.
Virginia W. (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
Rewiew of The Forgetting Tree
Tatjana Soli will be visiting our local library early next year and I very much look forward to meeting her and hearing her discuss this work as well as her first novel, The Lotus Eaters. I am still torn between choosing that or The Forgetting Tree as a future reading selection for our book discussion group.
This engrossing novel is about loyalty, love, and loss. It explores how a tragedy affects the direction and life path of all impacted. The main character, Claire inspires empathy, sympathy and at times anger as she faces the personal hardships that surround her and struggles to maintain her hard-earned life and land. When she meets a character who's response to early tragedies is much more sinister than her own the reader is pulled in and a bit breathless as page by page the intensity mounts and the question is whether Claire will prevail or succumb like the frog swimming in the ever hotter pan of water (the author's analogy). This was a very satisfying read and would be a good choice for book clubs.
Judith G. (Ewa Beach, HI)
I grew up in Southern California so really enjoyed the setting among orange trees, etc. I don't like fantasy novels and found this to include (to me at least) some of that genre. Voodoo....maybe if I were from Haiti it would make more sense...but I'm not. Wondered why Claire could be so gullible when she began as a strong woman. Admittedly my usual reading habit of page turners was interrupted by the Olympics on TV. Still, I didn't enjoy this as much as I enjoyed the previous novel, "The Lotus Eaters."
Vicki O. (Boston, MA)
On The Fence
The Forgetting Tree has a bit of a saga quality as it follows the journey of Claire, the head of a California ranch family, through tragedy, divorce, cancer and survival. It’s a lot to tackle and it succeeded on several levels, but failed on others. It was very well written and the characters were multidimensional though not always credible. It moved along with a lot of intensity for the first two parts of the book. The third part dragged and lost me. I finished feeling a bit frustrated, but decided that I should try her first book because she is such a superb storyteller
Vivian H. (Winchester, VA)
Slow Moving Modern Gothic
This book was difficult for me to read. I found the story slow going, disjointed and the characters unappealing. While I liked the concept of the novel – damaged people dealing with tragedy, critical illness and loss, a dysfunctional family, and fighting for a lost cause – the actions of the main characters, Claire and Minna, did not ring true. I further could not fathom Forster’s failure to investigate the goings on at the farm when he became concerned about the deterioration.
Kathy G. (Alamo, CA)
The Forgetting Tree
I did like some parts of the book immensely – including the prologue and all of Part One, the exchanges between Claire and her daughters, and a spur of the moment junket to Mexico. The story lost me about ½ way through Part Two and I ended up skimming through pages
The book has a bit of a gothic feel to it with numerous references to the novelist Jean Rhys and her most famous work "The Wide Sargasso Sea", which imagined the first wife of Jane Eyre's Mr. Rochester before she emigrated to England and ended up mad in the attic. Since I love the Brontes and thoroughly enjoyed discovering Jean Rhys, the references did conjure up my feelings associated with those works.
But after pushing through the second half of Part Two and Part Three hoping for some reward for my perseverance, I as disappointed in the conclusion.
When I saw that Tatjana Soli had written another book, I immediately placed my order. I was not disappointed in the novel. I found the book very insightful and the characters filled with imagination. I have never read a book quite like this one. Book clubs would love it. Discussions could evolve around Claire's world
Priscilla B. (Marietta, GA)
of cancer survival, relationships with husband and children and dedication to the family land. On the opposite side, there is the sultry and mysterious side of the world in which Minna is from which is a novel onto itself. I loved the book and look forward to the next one!
Parts of the book were well written. I never found the book tedious to read, but often annoying. I was left wondering if the author was trying to make a statement about the way people view themselves, or just inconsistent with who her characters were. Was this meant to be about the dichotomy of strength and weakness within ourselves? The "thread" of the characters and story was sometimes misremembered by the author. It put me in mind of Chris Bohjalian's Double Bind. If you enjoyed that book or others that are somehow just a bit off, you may enjoy this one. Otherwise I’d say give it a miss.