The Family Tree

The Family Tree

by Sheri S. Tepper

NOOK Book(eBook)

$4.49
View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Overview

THE ONCE FERTILE EARTH OF DORA HENRY'S CHILDHOOD HAS BEEN UNDERVALUED AND OVERDEVELOPED. NOW NATURE, APPARENTLY, HAS DECIDED TO FIGHT BACK.

Police officer Dora Henry is investigating the bizarre murders of three geneticists. Meanwhile, strange things are happening everywhere she turns. Weeds are becoming trees; trees are becoming forests. Overnight, a city is being transformed into a wild and verdant place.

And, strangest of all, Dora can somehow communicate with the rampaging flora.

A potential civilization-ending catastrophe is in the making. The bearer Dora gets to a murderer--and to the truth--the more seemingly disparate events begin to entwine. And the answers she seeks today to the salvation of humankind may lie in afar distant future. . .one which is suddenly much closer than anyone imagines.

An exhilarating and enchanting novel that deftly combines fantastic invention with insight and a social conscience, from one of the most lyrical and important voices in contemporary speculative fiction.

THE ONCE FERTILE EARTH OF DORA HENRYS CHILDHOOD HAS BEEN UNDERVALUED AND OVERDEVELOPED. NOW NATURE, APPARENTLY, HAS DECIDED TO FIGHT BACK.

Police officer Dora Henry is investigating the bizarre murders of three geneticists. Meanwhile, strange things are happening everywhere she turns. Weeds are becoming trees; trees are becoming forests. Overnight, a city is being transformed into a wild and verdant place.

And, strangest of all, Dora can somehow communicate with the rampaging flora.

A potential civilization-ending catastrophe is in the making. The bearer Dora gets to a murderer--and to the truth--the more seemingly disparate events begin to entwine. And the answers she seeks today to the salvation of humankind may lie in afar distant future. . .one which is suddenly much closer than anyone imagines.

An exhilarating and enchanting novel that deftly combines fantastic invention with insight and a social conscience, from one of the most lyrical and important voices in contemporary speculative fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061976339
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 100
Sales rank: 284,919
File size: 551 KB

About the Author

Sheri S. Tepper is the author of more than thirty resoundingly acclaimed novels, including The Waters Rising, The Margarets, The Companions, The Visitor, The Fresco, Singer from the Sea, Six Moon Dance, The Family Tree, Gibbon's Decline and Fall, Shadow's End, A Plague of Angels, Sideshow, and Beauty; numerous novellas; stories; poems; and essays. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Dora Henry and the Weed

Midmoming, a Tuesday in July, Dora Henry went out the front door of Jared's place to get the paper that the paperboy had, as usual, dropped just over the picket fence. On her way back up the immaculately swept walk she glanced at the front stoop and stopped dead in her tracks. She quit breathing. The world became hot and still as she teetered dizzily like a tightrope walker, thinking it would be nice to faint, but as she'd never done that, she didn't really know how.

Instead, she squeezed her eyes shut and made herself breathe, one long slow breath while she counted ten: Grandma's prescription for fear or anger or anything unsettling, one long breath with eyes shut, not looking at whatever it was that was bothering. Sometimes it worked. When her eyes opened, however, it was still there: a sprig of green thrusting up from the hairline crack between the brick of the stoop and the wall of the house.

It's just a weed, she told herself, looking at her hands with disbelief as they twitched and grasped toward the encroaching green. She heard her own voice yammering at her, "It can't stay there. It has no right to be there. Jared will be so angry..."

Jared would be so angry.

She clasped her hands together and tightened them until the knuckles turned white, biting her tongue until it hurt, willing herself to stop all this foolishness. "Weed," she said, invoking a label. It sounded right. Just a weed. Which, if Jared saw it, would bend him all out of shape, but that didn't mean she had to have a breakdown. Even if Jared had a major hissy, my Lord, she didn't need to go into some kind ofhysterical spasm at the sight of a weed!

She cast a quick, almost furtive look around to see first if anyone had seen her having a cow on the sidewalk and then if any other strange growths might have sprouted during the night. Negative on both counts. The block was as vacant as a hatched egg, and Jared's place was as usual: three meticulously trimmed rose bushes still marched up each side of the front walk; one geometrically sheared blue spruce still held down the comer opposite the driveway; six junipers bulged smoothly and uniformly across the front of the house, neatly carved into convex mounds; two flowering crab apple trees (fruitless) still stood at attention, each on a hanky of lawn that had been weeded and clipped and fertilized until it looked like a square of Astroturf.

She didn't need to look at the rest of it; she knew it by heart. The fences on either side and across the front were as pristine as when freshly painted. The driveway to the garage was smooth, gray concrete, as unstained as when newly laid. Out behind the garage, the trash cans were doing close order drill, each one precisely helmeted. The arbor covering the patio was grown with tightly clipped Boston ivy, and the narrow strip between garage and patio was planted with a single row of absolutely uniform hostas, which, so Jared said, were the least troublesome of shade-tolerant ground covers.

The Tree that cast the shade belonged to the people next door south, or, since it was on the far property line, maybe the people beyond them. It was huge and old with limbs like buttresses. Each fall it turned flaming red and scattered the whole block with glittering confetti, an autumnal celebration that went on for weeks while Jared fumed and snarled. He couldn't wait until the last leaves came down so he could vacuum them up, restoring his place to its usual purity. Once Jared had arranged things to his satisfaction, he did not tolerate alterations.

Dora hadn't known that, not at first. Under the assumption-quite wrong, as it turned out-that Jared's place was now "their" place, she had suggested some pansies by the back steps, a lavender plant, maybe, and some tulip bulbs under the hostas. Even some violets along the edges.

"They make a mess," Jared told her. "Tulip foliage dies and turns an ugly yellow. Pansies aren't hardy. The bloom stalks on lavender drop their buds. Violets seed themselves." His tone of voice made it clear that seeding oneself was a perversion.

Still thinking she was allowed a voice in the matter, she had argued, "Hostas have bloom stalks."

"Not for long," he'd crowed. Which was true, of course. The minute one showed, he nipped it off. All Jared wanted to see was those nice, shiny, evenly spread green leaves. Every week, he used the carwasher gadget on them, floods of soapy water to get rid of the dust. Even the roses out front were allowed their rare blooms only for a day or two. First sign of blowsiness, first sign a petal might drop, off they came. Jared had always been neat, said his mother. No trouble bringing Jared up, not a bit.

Dora sometimes entertained brief visions of the baby Jared sitting in his crib, neatly organizing his Pampers, folding his blankets, plumping his little pillow. Or the schoolboy Jared, sharpening his pencils and laying his homework out with a ruler, even with the edge of his desk...

The Family Tree. Copyright © by Sheri Tepper. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Family Tree 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best fantasy sci-fi books I have ever read. The characters grow as the story progresses, the mystery builds to an unimaginable finale and makes you think long and hard about how you interact with others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading Grass I knew I had to read more of her work. When I came accross this story I was a little reluctant. I'm glad I choose this title because it is a wonderful tale. I love her style of writing and the way the plots coincide and converge. Her views are a little strong however, she is such a wonderful storyteller it is easy to overlook.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The family tree is certainly one of the most fascinating stories I have read recently. The author certainly possesses a gift in creating powerful if not thought provoking characters that'll keep you wondering all the way to its sound conclusion! Mary Martinely
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sheri Tepper is one of the most gifted writers out there who almost nibody has heard of. Ive read ten of her books and im always left dumbstruck. These balance rhe compulsive readabiliry if more formulaic writers with deep human themes that the phikosophers throughout the ages have pontificated on in a much more elusive and dry manner. Tepper manages to weave beautiful, twisted, often tortured characters in to very original plotlines and worlds we hope we never encounter and though provoking situations that almost always reveal the kind of literary twist and secret we as readers crave so much but are often left short of. This book and any others...especially Grass, Sideshow, and Beauty... will set a new standard for fiction. Highly recommend
EmScape on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read. Following the story of Dora in the present day and Opalears/Nassif in another entirely, the two stories converge with the best twist I have never seen coming. Dora's town is being taken over by a new kind of plant, which she has an affinity for, while at the same time she is trying to leave her controlling husband. Opalears is a slave who has been sent on a journey with the Prince to the mysterious St Weel because an Evil Thing, the Great Enigma, is threatening everyone's way of life. Themes include ecology, family, tolerance, and humanism. I can't really tell you much more about it without ruining it for you, so you really need to read it yourself. Please, please read this book.
cmwilson101 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Family Tree by Sheri Tepper is a book that is difficult to categorize. It is part post-plague apocalyptical tale, part romance, part fantasy/sci-fi, part eco-treatise, and partly confusing! At the same time, it was fascinating, well written, believable, immersive, and completely unique. Firstly, the confusing part: the story is written part current times, part future; in addition, the story is told by a number of different narrators (from both the past and the future) in alternating chapters. I found this so frustrating that I actually skipped many of the alternating chapters until I could work out what was going on, then went back to them. I don't recommend this, as there are some very interesting twists to the story. Stick with it...all the threads come together and make sense.Now the rest: This is a greatly enjoyable story which will likely be with me for quite some time. Believable...?! The day after I finished it I read a newspaper article describing one of the main events in the story. It is clear that a plague could easily decimate the population, and other threads in the story are just as plausible. The fantasy elements of the story are strong, but again, not too far fetched. The characters are idiosyncratic, flawed, lovely. Conversation is interesting, and the plot is fast paced. All in all, reading this book was a very unique experience and I'm glad I did.
LeesyLou on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of Tepper's greats. Less anger towards mysogeny here and more focus on humankind's general respect for the world around us. I can't be too specific without spoiling certain plot devices, but this is a good read, occasionally heart-wrenching and touching, but never as heavy-handed as some of Tepper's works.
cequillo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel captivated me from first to last page. I hadn't read Tepper before and recall being very anxious to read more of her works. However, two novels later, this one remained my favorite for its ingenuity, its characters, plots and subplots. This book combines a little of everything, trees and plants which seek revenge, talking and conspiring animals on a mission to save themselves from extinction, a cast of quirky and memorable characters who spin the tale along. It's definitely a must read for any fantasy fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An interesting morality tale with many strange twists and turns.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderfull
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Be careful. This is not a flora goes wild, plague book. It is pure fantasy with talking animals, time travel of some sort and lots of legends about various things. Not my style and I felt the story childish and dull. I just wish that had been mentioned on the storyline page, I just would have avoided it. That being said, the writing was well done and if you enjoy this type of fantasy, you may like it. No real science, just fantasy. Kat
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the writing and the pace of the story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago