The Language of Trees
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The Language of Trees

3.9 28
by Ilie Ruby
     
 

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The Language of Trees, like Whitman’s Leaves of Grass though in a magic realist vernacular, refreshingly asserts that deeply American conviction: the gravest natural instinct is to heal and be healed. A shimmeringly heartfelt story.”

—Gregory Maguire, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked

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Overview

The Language of Trees, like Whitman’s Leaves of Grass though in a magic realist vernacular, refreshingly asserts that deeply American conviction: the gravest natural instinct is to heal and be healed. A shimmeringly heartfelt story.”

—Gregory Maguire, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked

  

“Crafted with suspenseful pacing and delicate imagery, Ilie Ruby’s book combines the qualities of an irresistible ghost story with a healing tale of redemption.”
—Elizabeth Rosner, author of The Speed of Light

 

A truly stunning literary debut, Ilie Ruby’s The Language of Trees is a fiercely beautiful novel that explores the relationships that define us, the events that shape us, and the places we will go to in order to save ourselves and those we love most. Fans of Jennifer McMahon, Alice Hoffman, and Niall Williams will be captivated by this haunting tale of homecoming and secrets that sparkles with exceptional writing and a gothic edge.

Editorial Reviews

Gregory Maguire
“The Language of Trees, like Whitman’s Leaves of Grass though in a magic realist vernacular, refreshingly asserts that deeply American conviction: the gravest natural instinct is to heal and be healed. A shimmeringly heart-felt story.”
Elizabeth Rosner
“The Language of Trees is a haunting novel about the enduring power of love. Crafted with suspenseful pacing and delicate imagery, Ilie Ruby’s book combines the qualities of an irresistible ghost story with a healing tale of redemption. It’s a vivid and compelling read.”
Diane Chamberlain
“Ilie Ruby’s haunting story seems to spring fully formed from the mystical setting she so beautifully describes. The Language of Trees will make you believe that spirits live on, that hands can heal, and that if you open your heart wide enough, the world is full of second chances.”
James Ragan
“Eloquent and compelling, this book is a luminous gem in the hypnotic waters of seduction. Ilie Ruby’s prose has at once a deeply lush and evocative serenity, poetically imagistic and rhythmically mastered...”
James Brown
“Rarely do debut novels cover the complicated emotional terrain of The Language of Trees. This is no simple right-of-passage story but rather an eloquently written journey that explores our strengths and vulnerabilities, our love of those who most need us, and whom we need most.
Katrina Kittle
“[Ilie Ruby’s The Language of Trees] may just be my favorite book of the summer!”
Jenna Blum
“Ilie Ruby’s THE LANGUAGE OF TREES is as atmospheric as the lake where it takes place—a mesmirizing meditation on the spirit, both of this world and the one beyond.”
USA Today
“Haunting…a literary, emotionally intense ghost story about family secrets and regrets.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061898648
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
07/20/2010
Pages:
339
Sales rank:
629,312
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.92(d)

What People are saying about this

Elizabeth Rosner
“The Language of Trees is a haunting novel about the enduring power of love. Crafted with suspenseful pacing and delicate imagery, Ilie Ruby’s book combines the qualities of an irresistible ghost story with a healing tale of redemption. It’s a vivid and compelling read.”
James Ragan
“Eloquent and compelling, this book is a luminous gem in the hypnotic waters of seduction. Ilie Ruby’s prose has at once a deeply lush and evocative serenity, poetically imagistic and rhythmically mastered...”
Diane Chamberlain
“Ilie Ruby’s haunting story seems to spring fully formed from the mystical setting she so beautifully describes. The Language of Trees will make you believe that spirits live on, that hands can heal, and that if you open your heart wide enough, the world is full of second chances.”
Gregory Maguire
“The Language of Trees, like Whitman’s Leaves of Grass though in a magic realist vernacular, refreshingly asserts that deeply American conviction: the gravest natural instinct is to heal and be healed. A shimmeringly heart-felt story.”
Katrina Kittle
“[Ilie Ruby’s The Language of Trees] may just be my favorite book of the summer!”
James Brown
“Rarely do debut novels cover the complicated emotional terrain of The Language of Trees. This is no simple right-of-passage story but rather an eloquently written journey that explores our strengths and vulnerabilities, our love of those who most need us, and whom we need most.
Jenna Blum
“Ilie Ruby’s THE LANGUAGE OF TREES is as atmospheric as the lake where it takes place—a mesmirizing meditation on the spirit, both of this world and the one beyond.”

Meet the Author

Ilie Ruby is a painter and short story author. She lives near Boston, Massachusetts, with her husband and the three children they adopted from Africa.

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The Language of Trees 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
HarvardReader50 More than 1 year ago
This book was fabulous. One of the best novels my book club has read in a long time! Suffice it to say that I found this book hard to put down. The author's unabashed style and intoxicating prose captivated me until the final page. I felt immersed in the lives of characters whose stories felt real and compelling, whose interconnected trials and triumphs created a complex web of love, lies and legacies. Part love story, part mystery, this is a sensually vivid debut by an author whose stories I will follow time and again.
DawnGR More than 1 year ago
I came across The Language of Trees by Ilie Ruby one afternoon and the cover caught my eye as I skimmed a few pages and read the back. At first, I thought," will be a nice read." What I ended up finding was a book that was a true gift that I found I could relate. It is about reconciling with your past and present. Healing and moving forward. Finding Forgiveness, redemption and accepting a love that has always been there. Very few novels have such effect upon reading them as this one did on me. Well written story that gives you a sense of being there as you are reading. Characters that are believable and as a reader can feel their emotions as you are reading. Truly a novel that will capture you start to finish. A true mark of a great story is when you are done reading it you are left feeling you have just lived it. Ilie Ruby is a remarkable story teller and I think has captured something truly remarkable with this novel. Many authors can write a good book, there are very few are great story tellers that can make a book come to life like Ilie Ruby does with The Language of Tress. A must have.
krazedknitter More than 1 year ago
Mystical, haunting, suspenseful. It's a story of restless spirits, healing and second chances. I fell into this book and didn't want to leave it. Ilie Ruby is a master storyteller. The narration is lyrical, the storyline beautifully plotted and the characters hauntingly unforgettable.
Montana99 More than 1 year ago
A FABULOUS DEBUT by AUTHOR ILIE RUBY: THE LANGUAGE OF TREES THE LANGUAGE OF TREES is a bold and beautifully written book that kept me engaged until the finish line--I didn't want it to end. From the moment I opened the pages of this beautiful story, I found myself immersed in the world of Canandaigua and the lives of characters that are as effortlessly human as they are beautifully vulnerable. With her lyricism and honest voice, Ilie Ruby tells a wise and wonderful story set against the backdrop of contemporary Seneca culture and modern-day spirituality. Canandaigua, a place still reeking of the battles that were fought there, becomes the setting for battles of a different kind-those of the mind and spirit, of addiction, love, and forgiveness. Nature and the spiritual world are intertwined as the story opens when the three young Ellis children steal a boat and sail into the lake on a rainy night. Only two children return. The mystery of Luke Ellis' disappearance is never solved, and proves to drive the answers to many twists and turns throughout the story. The author seamlessly takes us to the current day, when Echo O'Connell returns home to Canandaigua, to care for her ailing father. At once, despite much trepidation, she reunites with her childhood love, Grant Shongo, who ancestry is Seneca Indian, and who possesses a rare ability to heal the sick in what might currently be depicted as a process of energetic healing. Transcending the limits of religion and culture, Ruby depicts a fascinating and delicate description of this healing process, without ever giving too much away. She paints an engaging portrait of modern-day spirituality that makes us want to know more, especially since Grant is not the only one in town who has the ability to heal. Forced long ago to turn his back on his healing gifts, Grant is recovering from his own failed marriage. When he returns to his childhood cabin, he is taken up by the ghost of little Luke Ellis. The spirit of the child is restless, and we find that he has been waiting all this time to set the record straight. Now that his teenage sister has gone missing, leaving her infant son, Luke becomes at once impatient, dragging Grant into a desperate search and in the process, igniting Grant's own sense of purpose and survival. With her undeniable lyricism and poetic voice, Ruby takes us on a fascinating journey that refuses to be compartmentalized as mystery or love story, or as secular or nonsecular. This book evades labels, which is precisely why I love it. The love stories of many characters throughout the book ground the story while the spiritual realm is never far from our minds. In a fully engaging and beautifully rendered debut, Ruby brings us to place where nothing is as it seems, where the line between pain and forgiveness blurs, and where second chances prevail above all else. This is a book to read over and over again. THE LANGUAGE OF TREES is a beautifully woven debut, depicting the dark and light of the human experience with unabashed honesty and compassion, by an author whose stories I will follow time and again.
BookishBlonde More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! A beautiful and haunting narrative of lost opportunities and second chances, of regret and redemption. An unhappy and lost Grant Shongo returns to his hometown of Canandaigua after a bitter divorce. But he's not the only one returning after a long absence, his first love is also back in Canandaigua. The spirit of young boy who drowned in the lake is haunting the Shongo cabin, and a troubled young woman is missing and in terrible danger. Soon secrets are spilling out and Grant has to learn who he really is and accept the gift passed on to him through his Seneca blood to save a life and save himself. Every sentence of this novel was a pleasure to read, Ilie Ruby is a truly gifted storyteller.
Jennifer Leija More than 1 year ago
Nice storytelling ,great weekend read,
LisetteBrodey More than 1 year ago
Author Ilie Ruby's rich portrait of the people of Canandaigua Lake, their secrets, their histories, their unrequited passions, their losses, and their quest for second chances, all come together stunningly in The Language of Trees. Written in gorgeous poetic prose, this novel opens with a tragedy that draws the reader into the lives of Ruby's multi-dimensional, disparate, and believable characters. The author's knowledge of the area of Canandaigua, the folklore of the Seneca Indians, is so real, that throughout the book, I felt as if I were standing invisible among the people of Canandaigua, watching myriad stories unfold around me. This is an author who cannot only write, but who deeply understands the human spirit - what threatens it, what kills it, and what heals it. The story flows beautifully as the present and past lives of her character's fight for their rightful place. As Echo O'Connell reunites with her first love, Grant Shongo, who she has not seen since she was seventeen, there is much to sort out. Secrets and spirits float through the air and every character has their pain, their regret, and their unique need for forgiveness. The Language of Trees is a truly magical story.
sandiek More than 1 year ago
The small town of Canandaigua has a hold on its citizens. Some have grown up and moved away, but find themselves drawn back to their childhood haunts. Others have lived their entire lives in this small community, centered around a lake and the trees and animals and Indian heritage that is evident everywhere. There are also secrets. More than a decade ago, a tragedy changed the lives of several families. Three children, two sisters and a brother, fled the wrath of their alcoholic father and took a canoe out on the lake at night. When a storm whipped up, the canoe capsized and the young brother, Luke, disappeared and drowned. That death had many consequences. It broke the marriage of his parents. One sister< Maya, had to be hospitalized with a mental breakdown, while the other, Melanie, became a drug addict. Now Melanie has defeated her addiction and has a good relationship and a baby she loves. But she has gone missing.... Echo comes back to town to deal with the illness and old age of Joseph, the town's grocer and holder of many secrets. He took Echo in when she was orphaned and provided her with love and security. Grant has also returned to town to try to reconcile his past. He is fleeing a broken marriage, and trying to determine why his father was so distant from him as a child. When he and Echo see each other, they are drawn to rekindle the past where they were each other's first love. Ilie Ruby has created a wonderous place, a land that seems shrouded in fog and secrets that the reader must push their way through to discover the secrets that bind these individuals to this place. This is a debut novel and it's haunting voice will linger in readers' minds long after they close the book. This book is recommended for readers who are interested in discovering the items that make people the way they are.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1988, the three preadolescent Ellis siblings (Melanie, Maya and Luke) steal a canoe and row on Canandaigua Lake to Squaw Island while it is storming. However, their trek goes wrong ending with eight years old Maya accusing her older sister for the disappearance of their younger brother. After being away for about a year, in 2000, Echo O'Connell comes home to Canandaigua to take care of her ailing dad. Her former childhood lover, Grant Shongo, once a healer with Seneca bloodlines, left Rochester to hide in his family's remote cabin still stunned that his wife Susanna left him. At the cabin, the spirit of Luke pleads with him to uncover the truth as to what happened over a decade ago as the ghost worries about his sister vanishing leaving behind her baby. Grant finds a reason to go on and soon a second one when he and Echo meet. This is an entertaining regional paranormal mystery as the strong key cast has failed to move on pass respective tragedies. The story line affirms that forgiving (one's self) is a critical early stage in healing regardless of their personal belief system although the plot uses that of the Seneca people. What happened then and happening now are kept somewhat thin as the fully developed characters with their motivations and values (negative as well as positive) are the focus of the mystical The Language of the Trees. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book slowed me down and kept my attention. I didn't find the need to 'speed read' through portions to get to the good parts.
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