And The Trees Crept In
This is a book for a stormy night and, probably, the following morning… because you won’t be able to stop reading it. I met the author, Dawn Kurtagich, last month at the ALA annual conference (ugh. So many books left to read!). Hearing her describe the book in her own words (and accent) made me move this book to #2 of my “ALA must read” list, just after The Lie Tree. Instead of a review, I’m going to give you Kurtagich’s synopsis to the best of my recollection.
Basically, (insert British accent) I set out to write a love story. And I did. Only, it ended up being a love story between two sisters. They run away from their abusive father to live with their aunt. She lives in a mansion the color of blood. One day their aunt goes up to the attic and never. comes. down. The next day, Silla realizes that the trees are getting closer.
So, yeah. It’s good.
Kurtagich plays with text and space in her book in a way that is reminiscent of MZD’s House of Leaves, but without poaching his exact style. She cobbles her book together like a puzzle with bits written on scraps of paper, in diary entries, and letters. This multi-sensory experience, coupled with Silla’s increasingly frantic and (deliberately) disjointed narrative, creates an eerie, dreary tone that will haunt you for weeks after reading. Seriously Gothic. Think Jane Eyre, but from the ill-fated Bertha Mason’s point of view. Maybe. I might be misremembering or just getting carried away. But, what you need to know is that the book is creepy, thrilling, a little sad, and above all- intentional. As Kurtagich writes on the very first page “there is a reason for everything.” This is a book to read twice!
Kurtagich, D. (2016). And the trees crept in. New York: Little, Brown and Company.