Thursday 4 July 2019

Book Review: The Girl in the Tree by Sebnem Isigüzel (Literary Fiction)

Title: The Girl in the Tree
Author: Sebnem Isigüzel
Amazon Crossing
Publication Date: 17 March 2020
eBook- PDF
Literary Fiction
ARC via NetGalley


A young woman climbs the tallest tree in Istanbul’s centuries-old Gülhane Park, determined to live out the rest of her days there. Perched in an abandoned stork’s nest in a sanctuary of branches and leaves, she tries to make sense of the rising tide of violence in the world below. Torn between the desire to forget all that has happened and the need to remember, her story, and the stories of those around her, begins to unfold.

Then, unexpectedly, comes a soul mate with a shared destiny. A lonely boy working at a nearby hotel looks up and falls in love. The two share stories of the fates of their families, of a changing city, and of their political awakenings in the Gezi Park protests. Together, they navigate their histories of love and loss, set against a backdrop of societal tension leading up to the tragic bombing that marked a turn in Turkey’s democracy—and sent a young girl fleeing into the trees.

Narrated by one of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary fiction—as full of audacious humor and irony as she is of rage and grief—this unsparing and poetic novel of political madness, precarious dreams, and the will to survive brilliantly captures a girl’s road to defiance in a world turned upside down, in which it is only from the treetops that she can find a grip on reality—and the promise of hope.

The Girl in the Tree is an enjoyable and different read. Spun in poetic prose, it drifts between humour and angst as we learn what drove a young woman to climb a tree and decide to stay there. Our narrator is completely unreliable--she confesses several times that some of the stories from her past were lies or exaggerations--but the meaning behind everything she says and does is compelling and makes you want to believe her regardless. This unconventional work held my interest from start to finish, and I would certainly like to read more from this author if any of her other works are translated into English in the future. A thoughtful and thought-provoking read.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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