Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Red Tree Paperback – August 4, 2009
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
“Kiernan’s chiller provides a strange and vastly compelling take on a New England haunting, and captures its spirit unnervingly well.”—Booklist
“[Kiernan’s] most personal, ambitious, and accomplished work yet.”—Locus
“A suspenseful tale that feeds the imagination and blurs the line of reality.” —Darque Reviews
“With its intelligent blend of folklore, horror, and dark fantasy, Kiernan’s latest appeals well beyond urban fantasy fans.”—Library Journal
“Dark-fantasy specialist Kiernan delivers a creepy and engaging tale…Horror fans will recognize the familiar Lovecraftian gothic-horror elements—indeed, Lovecraft, Poe, and other writers are explicitly referenced in the text—but Kiernan’s prose is thoroughly modern…She ably keeps the proceedings from developing into formula, and her portrayals of Sarah’s growing obsession, and the violence surrounding the tree, are evocative and chilling. A multileveled novel that will appeal to fans of classic and modern horror.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Kiernan’s dark tale blurs the lines between illusion and reality in this multilayered novel. The characters are complex and deeply flawed, and the beautiful and uninhibited prose easily evokes the dread they experience.”—Romantic Times
“Kiernan does a great job of evoking the terror of not knowing what is real and what is imagined…a layered, atmospheric tale.”—Fantasy Literature
“[Kiernan] still remains the only author who manages to truly evoke [Lovecraft] sensations of dread while at the same time managing to do so in a voice entirely her own.”—King of the Nerds
About the Author
- Publisher : Ace; Original edition (August 4, 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 385 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0451462769
- ISBN-13 : 978-0451462763
- Item Weight : 11.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #392,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Some stories carry weight because they stir our emotions, some are examples of the artist at the top of their game, and some simply know how plot and characters work and demonstrate that. With "The Red Tree", Kiernan shows that she can do all three. It is so sad and complex and difficult and impure and true that I almost wished it was written poorly so I could've dismissed it, put it down, and avoided this emotional journey but I am a new person because of it. I feel like reading this book is walking through fire.
I was especially pleased to read a novel with such female emphasis and interest that managed to be neither a pornographic caricature or an unreasonably lofty ideal. These are real people, for better or worse.
I've been a fan of Aunt Beast for some time but with this novel as well as "The Drowning Girl", she really blew herself out of the water.
The journal entry format, I liked that and found it made the book go by faster. !! There is something in the editor's preface that I consider a huge spoiler. Unfortunately, I did not know about this and read it first as it's at the start of the book. As soon as I read it, I stopped and went to the chapter 1. I went back and read it after I finished. Be sure to read the foot notes. They clear up some things.
Ok, now the story. Sarah retreats to this house in Rhode Island after her lover (Amanda) commits suicide. She plans on getting some writing done and healing. While exploring, she finds an unfinished manuscript from the previous renter, Dr. Charles Harvey. He was researching the local folklore and legend about a red oak tree on the property. I loved the history of the tree! Those parts were great. One day, the landlord calls and tells her he has rented out the attic. Enter Constance. She's an artist as well (painting) and unlike Sarah, she knows about the legend of the tree. After Constance arrival, it's all mixed up. It gets harder and harder for Sarah (and us) to make sense of what's going on. What is real and just a dream. The line between the two is blurred. The descent into chaos just gets more and more bizarre until the end. I liked the ending. Like I said, I went back and read the editor's preface here.
So yeah, this was an odd one but I liked it. If your not a fan of unreliability and blurred realities, you may want to skip this one.
For Halloween last year, Dan gave me my first Caitlin Kiernan book, Threshold. I enjoyed it, so when I got my credit card rewards this month, I bought another Kiernan novel. I pretty much chose it at random. So here comes my review of The Red Tree!
It's a good thing that Dan warned me to expect very Lovecraftian reads. The Red Tree, like Threshold, will not deliver answers or even ever tell the reader what the hell was going on. We're just along for the scary ride. Understanding and expecting that makes Kiernan a much better read.
The characters (or maybe that should be singular) didn't really hit home for me, even though the main one was an author. She's a very bitter, very pessimistic woman... not unlike myself, really, but not the parts I really like to read about.
However, that leads me into perhaps the most interesting part of The Red Tree - the writing. The novel is written as a journal kept by the author. It's introduced by her fictional editor, who has a cold, dry style. This leads into the author's own voice. Then she finds another manuscript in the basement and enters pages from it, all written in a scholar's voice. The scholar, in turn, references and quotes older, more folksy and archaic texts.
It's interesting to read and must have been a challenge to write. As the author loses her mind, the different styles bleed together, making it hard to differentiate who is writing and adding very well to the sense of growing insanity. Well done!
It was creepy and a good read, full of eerie tension and surprisingly frighting imagery. I feel I must warn readers, however, that The Red Tree is a bit sexually explicit. The sex scenes are short and don't go into protracted detail, but Kiernan pulls no punches.
Top reviews from other countries
If I’d seen this in a bookshop I’d never have picked it, it has the worst cover ever, also the edition I had was a pain – the ‘manuscript’ sections are printed to mimic typeface and so pale I had to read under a strong light. This is technically horror/weird fiction – a little bit Lovecraft, a dash Shirley Jackson – there’s a list of influences included. I’d never heard of Kiernan but fans include Jeff VanderMeer and Neil Gaiman which is why I chose this. It’s not ‘jump-out-of-your-seat’ or ‘gore-fest’ horror, it’s the unsettling, slow-moving kind, which is about all I can cope with, so that much was okay. I gulped down the first half of the book then slowed right down. I really couldn’t decide if I liked the rest of the book or if the ending wasn’t just a bit hackneyed. There’s a metafictional element (and references to other Kiernan stories which I had to look up) which didn’t totally work for me - or maybe just wasn’t in the mood for. Also, didn’t help that I saw the ‘twist’ coming. But partially satisfied a craving for a ‘haunted house’ story.
Representa el lento descenso de un autor fallido que alquila una casa en el campo.
Con la esperanza de alejarse de una experiencia de amor traumática pasada, ella termina siendo víctima del horror del "árbol rojo".
Im Keller ihres neuen Domizils entdeckt sie ein unvollständiges Manuskript des Vormieters, eines Professors, der sich mit übernatürlichen Phänomenen beschäftigt hat. Die Unterlagen beschäftigen sich vor allem mit einer uralten Roteiche, die in der Nähe des Hauses steht. Die Roteiche steht in Verbindung mit unheimlichen Vorfällen, Unfällen und Morden und Sarah kann sich der morbiden Faszination des Manuskripts und der Eiche nicht entziehen. Die Grenzen zwischen Wachen und Traum scheinen für Sarah zu verschwimmen und die Roteiche wird zur Obsession für sie. So beginnt sie also ihre eigene Niederschrift der Ereignisse.
Caitlín R. Kiernan hat mit THE RED TREE keinen traditionellen Horrorroman geschrieben. Der Schrecken schleicht sich in dem Roman auf leisen Sohlen an und präsentiert sich die meiste Zeit eher unterschwellig. Es gibt keine Schockeffekte und blutrünstige Szenen, stattdessen herrscht eine unheimliche Atmosphäre, die nicht immer sofort zu bemerken ist. Es wird in THE RED TREE auch nicht wirklich klar, ob die unerklärlichen Vorgänge wirklich so passieren, oder ob sie Sarahs angespanntem Gemütszustand entspringen. Sie ist nicht unbedingt die verlässlichste Erzählerin.
Neben den gruseligen Vorgängen in dem alten Gebäude spielen auch Sarahs häufige Reflexionen über ihr bisheriges Leben eine große Rolle. Sie hat das Gefühl, ihr Leben gegen die Wand gefahren zu haben. Ihre Beziehung zu Amanda endete in einer Katastrophe, ihre Karriere ist praktisch beendet, ihr Gesundheitszustand ist schlecht. Sarah ist keine unsympathische Protagonistin, aber sie macht es einem nicht immer leicht, sich in sie einzufühlen. Besonders mit der Ankunft von Constance Hopkins, einer weiteren Mieterin, verschärfen sich Sarahs emotionale Probleme und in Kombination mit dem Geheimnis der Roteiche geht es rapide mit ihr bergab.
THE RED TREE ist ein Roman in einem Roman. Die fiktive Lektorin Sarahs eröffnet die Geschichte mit einem Vorwort, anschließend beginnt Sarahs Tagebuch.
THE RED TREE ist allen Freunden von stimmungsvollem Grusel, die keine blutigen Schockeffekte brauchen, auf jeden Fall zu empfehlen.