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The Tree of Heaven

May Sinclair

Book Overview: 

One of the most heart-breaking of all World War I novels, this family epic was written in the midst of the War itself, and shows the intense emotion generated in ordinary lives by that tragedy. May Sinclair astonishingly weaves multiple themes into her narrative, seamlessly drawing from the great movements of her day: suffrage, sexual liberation, artistic revolt, war, and pacifism. Her most powerful metaphor throughout the novel is that of the Vortex: the dangerously irresistible force of human masses, how to resist it and (much more difficult) how to participate in it without losing one’s individual autonomy. -

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .g a spruce grey suit and a panama hat bought with Anthony's money. Sheep-farming in Australia--he had infinitely preferred the Cape Mounted Police--had ruined Maurice's nerves. He was good for nothing but to lounge in Anthony's garden, to ride his horses--it was his riding that had got him into the Cape Mounted Police--to sit at his table and drink his wines, and, when there was no more wine for him, to turn into Jack Straw's Castle for a pick-me-up on his way home.

And before July was out three others were added to the garden group: Bartholomew and Vera and Veronica. And after them a fourth, Vera's friend, Captain Ferdinand Cameron, home on sick leave before anybody expected him.

Frances's tree of Heaven sheltered them all.


Bartholomew, Anthony's brother, lived in Bombay and looked after his business for him in the East. He had something the matter with him, and he had come home to look after his own health. At least, . . . Read More

Community Reviews


Not what the blurb makes it out to be. The blurb has blurred lines to make the book sound as though it is about Dorothea and her place in the suffrage movement with stories of her brothers intertwined. It is actually the story of her brothers, predominantly from there mother’s point of view, and the

I was a little unsure about this in the beginning, but it quickly blossomed into a beautiful, intense, and moving story of a family navigating their world in the lead up to and during World War I. Knowing it was written in 1917, when the author was living through the war herself and had no idea what

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