The Red Tree

  • by Caitlin R. Kiernan
  • Narrated by Eileen Stevens, Katherine Kellgren, Christian Rummel
  • 10 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Sarah Crowe left Atlanta, and the remnants of a tumultuous relationship, to live alone in an old house in rural Rhode Island. Within its walls she discovers an unfinished manuscript written by the house's former tenant - a parapsychologist obsessed with the ancient oak growing on a desolate corner of the property. And as the gnarled tree takes root in her imagination, Sarah risks her health and her sanity to unearth a revelation planted centuries ago.

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What the Critics Say

"[CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan has] a gift for language that borders on the scary." (Neil Gaiman)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Hmmm......

This book will either leave you exclaiming,WOW! Or have you scratching your head and thinking, HUH..? I'm leaning on the side of WOW! This is not a fast paced chiller-thriller. It's not supposed to be. Is it a story about a haunted tree? Well sort of. In any case, I can't get it out of my head.
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- Laura Foley Gray

Worth it for the quality of writing


Many reviewers have complained about the meandering plot, lack of clear conclusion, swearing etc.

I don't like the novel because of any of these things, and yes, I usually prefer a more sympathetic main character too.

Yet the novel is worth reading if you like good writing, both in descriptions and in characterization.
I loved Lovecraft and Poe as a child, but have long since rejected the first for his laughably bad writing and see no reason to reread the second because his characters have so little depth.

In comparison to Kiernan, Stephen King spins a better plot, but I don't think a compelling plot is what Keirnan is trying to write here.
In terms of description, both literary quality and ability to convey creepiness, she writes as well -- better, I'd say -- than the best of King, and she does a better job revealing the tragedy and especially the ambiguity that lurks in relationship.
Yes, there is some sweaty sex that may titillate or disgust the reader, but the really compelling and heartbreaking thing about the novel is the portrayal of a tentative new friendship that is a shadow of hope threatened by horror.

The tension lies in wondering whether the narrator will be saved, go down with her friend, or be left even more alone in the darkness.
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- Kristen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-27-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios