A simple truth about my book reviews: besides their brevity, they will all be positive. This is because my reading time is too precious to waste on a book I am not enjoying. Mostly I read before bed, borrowing time from my dreams, closing the book around 1am (which really isn't smart considering when I get up and how packed each day is). And I never have regrets if and when I abandon a novel.
The Tree Tattoo by Karen Rivers is an unusual exception. I would struggle to continue and then find myself giving it one more chance. This actually happened five times in total - and I even had another BC author ready to go - but on the fifth try I stayed with it, and I'm still surprised I got through it.
The prose is very poetic, which I usually love, but in the beginning I was too distracted by it. I imagine it must have been the story that brought me back each time, or how the story might resolve itself. In a nutshell, a 50-something family man and an alarmingly haunted 23 year old have a sexually charged affair. Unique? Yes. Hard to imagine? Yes. Worth the read? Undecided, but there were certainly notable phrases, and striking passages. For instance:
Marriage is so many unasked, unanswered questions, a tidal wave of unsaid words - do they ever crash down? Can people be crushed under that kind of weight?
The characters wrestle with familiar demons but the language doesn't soften the carnage, and this I did appreciate. As for the knitting comparison: The Tree Tatoo is like a pair of socks, in particular a pair I referred to as the "Forever Socks" because they took so long to knit and yet I never gave up on them. Socks are a unique knit anyway, and magical at moments - like when you turn the heel - but in the end you don't wear them often and you have to remind yourself that at least they got finished. Next time I knit socks, perhaps I'll call them The Tree Tatoo socks...that sounds much better.