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The Lion Trees: Part Two: Awakening (Volume 2) Paperback – August 13, 2014

4.8 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


[FOUR STARS]... "By the time you are done with The Lion Trees, you [will] have forgotten all about the length and will realize what an amazingly entertaining piece of literature it was and do I dare say it, a serious novel that provides you with some genuine laugh out loud moments. ... Owen Thomas's writing leaves you richer with emotions and contentment even before the ending arrives. If there is only one book that you are going to read this year, make it The Lion Trees." - Motorwriter.com

[FIVE STARS]..."I've been an avid reader for well over thirty-five years. I've been a reviewer for over a dozen. I've been bombarded by today's cookie cutter story assembly and I despise it. ... Then, someone like Owen Thomas comes along and reminds me what the book world CAN offer, what a story CAN be. ... [T]his was an astounding read for me. Not only was the story telling mesmerizing, but Owen's writing style is inspiring. His writing is seamless and flawless and makes me yearn for more." -- LiteraryLitter.com

[A] cerebral page turner...a powerful and promising debut.--Kirkus Reviews

[FIVE STARS]..."This is a powerful, gripping and realistic story. Once, a few decades ago, many authors would set out to write "The Great American Novel," hoping to tap into whatever it is which makes the US and its people so unique and hopeful, particularly at a set point in time. ... These days it doesn't seem like anyone tries to write those kind of seminal novels anymore... until now. ... The Lion Trees does what so very few great novels can: it will take a lot out of you, but leave you with much more than you had when you began." - Pacific Book Review

[FOUR STARS]..."In its structure and nature, [The Lion Trees] reminds me above all of John Updike's wonderful Harry Rabbit novels and their ability to summarize the essence of change in American society across a decade at a time." - BookIdeas.com

A sweeping literary saga in the tradition of ‘Dr. Zhivago’, ‘Gone with the Wind’, and ‘The Thorn Birds’, this book has it all, including scandal, aspiration, treachery, and reinvention. Thomas’ fiction has a fresh feel—original and stirring—delivering a tale of monumental family dysfunction, which captures interest through numerous plot shifts, quickly alternate between poignant and humorous. By turns exhilarating and exhausting, Thomas creates compelling, rich characters. The ending is just as satisfying as the beginning.” – The Eric Hoffer Book Award

[FIVE STARS]“Every now and then, seemingly out of nowhere, a new voice comes along and knocks your socks off. Owen Thomas owns that voice. . . . Intoxicated by his prose, you gorge upon chunks of passages and while awestruck by the language’s majesty two discordant thoughts course through your brain: why is the book so long and then, superseding that sentiment, please don’t let it end. It is not often that a book like ‘The Lion Trees’ graces our lives.” – The Anchorage Press

About the Author

Owen Thomas, a life-long Alaskan with an abiding love of original fiction, is a product of the Anchorage School District and a graduate of Duke University and Duke Law School. While managing an employment litigation practice in Alaska, Owen has written three novels: Lying Under Comets: A Love Story of Passion, Murder, Snacks and Graffiti; The Lion Trees, winner of thirteen international book awards (including the 2015 Kindle Book Award, the Eric Hoffer Book Award, the First Horizon Award, the London Book Festival, the New York Book Festival, the Beverly Hills International Book Awards, and the Amsterdam Book Festival); and a novel of interconnected short fiction entitled Signs of Passing, winner of nine book festival awards (including the Pacific Book Awards for Short Fiction and the Great Southeast Book Festival). Owen maintains an active fiction and photography blog on his author website at owenthomasfiction.com.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Lion Trees
  • Paperback: 802 pages
  • Publisher: OTF Literary (August 13, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0692248374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0692248379
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #793,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Lion Trees is one of those rare books that is worth losing sleep over. It's a book you think about when you are not reading it. You are invested in it's characters and come to know them well. The book draws you in.

Summarizing the storyline is difficult to do, not only due to the length, but because it is multi-faceted. There are reviews here that have already tackled a summary. I would say this novel might be best described as many "slices of life" that flow from page to page.

Owen Thomas delivers a look at relationships. These glimpses are often humorous, but he also can be tough and right up and in your face. Insightful, and at times almost mesmerizing, this book almost gives the reader a sense of nostalgia that is unrelated to the past. These imperfect characters are intricately woven into imperfect relationships, and I rooted for them like they were rock stars.

I can't say if this is Mr. Thomas's first novel or if he has written a hundred other books. But I will say if it doesn't hit the bestseller list, there's an editor out there somewhere who isn't doing their job.

Mr. Thomas, you are on the radar.
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I’m not sure I can put into words how I feel about these books (parts one and two). At more than 800 pages each, I was a little nervous about getting started. I hoped I would like them, but never dreamed how quickly and deeply I would be drawn in. Told from four different viewpoints, it’s the story of a family – a very dysfunctional one, at that. Hollis, Susan, and David’s chapters are set in the same relative time frame, Tilly’s moves around some, and there are occasional insertions of dialog from the fictional book (within the book) The Lion Tree by Angus Mann. I’m sure it sounds confusing but, trust me… it’s not. After reading just one chapter from each character, I was hooked and read every free opportunity I could find. Intelligent, thought-provoking – I love the author’s writing style and how he brought the characters totally to life. My only complaint would be how often I ran across the incorrect usage of they’re/their and your/you’re. I didn’t expect it given the overall quality of the writing and blamed it on poor editing/proofing so as not to let it spoil the overall experience.

Perhaps this was just a good foil for me as a way to escape the problems of my own life, by immersing myself into another far more problematic than my own. Then again, I think I would have been drawn to these characters regardless. They came alive for me and I found myself thinking about them often throughout the day. By the time I reached the end, I hated to let them go – even if the story did conclude satisfactorily.
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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 with more succinct expression, but only a master novelist can lead his readers to experience the rich contours of his characters' lives and to draw their own conclusions and meanings from them, as Thomas has done in this powerful work.

In a previous review of The Lion Trees, Part One: Unraveling, I wrote about a central theme of identity that was introduced in the first volume. Are we doomed to replay the central elements of our characters over and over again, like an actress playing a part, or perhaps even being recast in the same persona for multiple iterations of a film production? Can we ever escape that wheel of pain by finally getting it right, nailing the role? Is this high Buddhist philosophy or the insightful comedy of Groundhog Day?

In Part Two: Awakening, answers are provided, or at least suggested, and they are, I am pleased to say, hopeful. The story of the lion tree, recounted by a fictional persona played by an actress, is a metaphor that combines survivor guilt, abandonment and the cycle of return. It is emblematic of the lives of Susan, the mother in the dysfunctional Johns family, and Tilly, her daughter. Yet, both are able to break out of the cycle, largely through their own strength.
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This is a follow up to my review of Part One, the Unraveling.

The second book was even more pleasurable reading than the first, in that I was already intrigued with the main characters and wanted know how their complicated lives would unfold. It was satisfying to be able to travel with them all through many more years and witness (and believe) the outcome.

I would concur with other reviewers that these books are not "light" reading. The weight comes from the intense introspection, beautifully sculpted character studies, and careful and authentic attention to the many surrounding circumstances.
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