Monday, February 22, 2010
The Red Tree, by Caitlin Kiernan
Wild, twisty ride of a book. Author Sarah Crowe has retreated to an old farmhouse in rural Rhode Island, ostensibly to finish an overdue book, but becomes distracted by a manuscript left behind by a previous tenant. The previous tenant, a suicide, had been working on a study of local legends centering around a large oak on the property, that had been mentioned since colonial times as having somewhat horrible properties, and having been something of a sacred site to local Narragansetts. As Sarah reads the manuscript, she becomes obsessed with the tree and the myths and legends surrounding it, and then things really take a dark turn. A housemate, painter Constance, who becomes Sarah's lover, moves in, and Sarah and Constance are doomed- unless it is only Sarah who is doomed.
An unreliable narrator, a wonderfully inventive mix of New England folklore and an eerie love story with a very dark ending? I'm sold.