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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
A modern-day fable that is sure to captivate both young and old, Time and the Tree by Róisín Sorahan is about the value of wisdom, the sanctity of inner peace, and the mutability of time. After sleeping for a long period, a boy wakes up thirsty under a large tree. The tree directs him to a fresh spring that feeds the forest. The tree becomes a friend to the boy, providing him with shelter, watching him play in the woods, and witnessing him grow up. The tree experiences the different seasons and encounters different visitors seeking guidance. Every visitor has a different interest and agenda. But the tree, being as old as time can remember, has accumulated enough wisdom to understand the ways of the world, and as it witnesses many comings and goings, it continues to probe further, always toward that which lies just beyond its reach.
Róisín Sorahan’s story is reminiscent of beloved tales like The Giving Tree and Hope for the Flowers. But Time and the Tree takes a step further as it addresses the mystery of ontology and the agency of time. Philosophical but not complicated, its simple and crisp plot can only be described as sublime. This is the kind of story that you read because you want to. You are free to interpret it as a practical philosophy for life and work. Time and the Tree has the potential to gain popularity for the relevance of its message that we all need in this volatile, predictable, and emotionally draining society. As a protagonist, the tree as an immovable living entity has no control over external events and situations, but it puts emphasis on learning to understand and control what it can give and what is within its power. Sorahan’s enchanting prose has the ability to touch you in a way that no other stories can. It is not exactly a feel-good story, but it is brimming with symbolism and existential undertones that will move you to read it over and over again.