Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Language of Trees...

After his wife leaves him, Grant Shongo returns to his family's cabin on Lake Canandaigua to reconnect with his ancestral spirits and to try and heal his heart. But he finds himself haunted not only by the memories of his past--memories of his parents, and of Echo O'Connell, the first and only girl he ever truly loved--but by the spirit of a little boy who drowned 12 years earlier.
"There is nowhere else he could have gone but to the lake. Canandaigua is the place where he feels God in the trees...Time is different here: the minutes, hours, and days tracked by a set of different colors, smells, directions and strength of wind across the water...(The lake's) restlessness has always calmed him."
But there are complications here, too. The dead boy's sister, Melanie, has gone missing. A wounded gray wolf shows up at Grant's door. And Echo returns. And Grant suddenly finds himself with a second chance at love and life.

Ilie Ruby's novel is a story of regret and hope, second chances, forgiveness and love. The setting is beautifully described, and the Seneca legends and traditions add depth and interest. It's mostly Grant's story, but there are several other secondary story lines threaded through the narrative. I have to admit, I liked the chapters told from Grant's POV best; he's definitely my favorite character. I wouldn't have minded if the story had focused less on the mystery of Melanie's disappearance and more on Grant and Echo and their relationship , but overall, I liked this book. Especially the small touches of magic in it.

Best of all? This book fulfills the bonus 6th category for me in the What's in a Name 2014 Reading Challenge: read a book with a school subject in the title. The Language of Trees checks this one off. Now I just need to find a book with an element of weather in its title and I'll have completed the entire challenge. (Got any suggestions?)
What's in a Name Reading Challenge:  5 books read; 1 to go!

Happy Reading!


  1. Books with a weather connection in the title: Isaac's Storm (about hurricane off coast of TX in early 20th century NF) or Gone with the Wind? Boy who Harnessed the Wind (NF)? Atwood's Year of the Flood? Love in a Cold Climate by Mitford? The Wind by Scarborough?

    1. And here I've been drawing blanks. Thanks for all the suggestions. One of them has to work, right? Maybe I'll finish this challenge yet. :)