Into The Trees by Robert Williams // Incomplete but Complete Book Review
This sunday when I picked up Into the Trees by Robert Williams, I was not hoping to complete it in one sitting. It was small book (not that small though) but what makes this book so interesting is not the fast paced or mythical surrounding but the 3 characters at the Centre of the book.
The story is not driven through characters, but the story is about characters. The story is sits on an single event — that the writer mention in the first few pages. You might think that the gruesome event will take place and it will be like the turning point of the book.
But in fact it was surprising that the event was not the turning point, but a simple robbery event.
It is a major event but the story is not about how to reach that event.
In the book The God of Small Things, the event was mentioned in the first few pages. And the 400 word book is the authopr explaining the consequences of the event. And in the end, we get to know how it unfolds. And until that point it does not matter, because we know enough from the third parties to make our assumption. But when we experience it first hand, it was more like the acknowledgement than confession.
While in Looking for Alaska by John Green, the event is what divided the book into two parts. One is before the event, and another one is after the event. While the The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga takes the entire book just to come to the event — like The God of Small Things.
These event, you can call it plot, or central idea, root of the story, or center of the book – but they are nothing but the part of the book for what the other part of the book are written.
That is one of the reason I enjoyed the Into the Tress. You might think the plot is the robbery and we are looking at the things leading to it and then the outcome of it.
But this is not the case.
The writer has smartly downplayed the event when it comes the turn — so the book relies heavily on the characters. The Three Men whose life we were reading is the plot.
And it is not event he plot. It just the story of 3 men.
In the end you are like I know about these 3 men, but what now. What do I do with this knowledge?
And then the acceptance begins. That was the plan always. It is about these 3 men and how they are going around with their lives. They are not heroes, central characters or any way important. They are common people with no extraordinary life.
Our marvel induced brain wants to find heroes and protagonists. So it feel weird knowing there is none. It is the story of background characters.
As the name of the book is Into the Trees, the story is set up in the Trees.
Though the nature of forest is not clear. Are they mythical or are they also plain forest.
The story begins from the girl crying. And the parents discovering that girl only sleep peacefully when they spend night in a specific forest. So they buy a barn and make a small house there.
Then there is a man Raymond. Isolated big man who does farm work so he does not have to meet and greet people. Low wages and difficult hours are acceptable to him as long he can live in the Abbeystead (the forest village I guess). His house is in a poor neighborhood where there is so many people. And the house is also leaking and can break anytime.
The house is again a symbolism for the man. The house, like the man is leaking. And can give up anytime and in a dire need of warmth.
While the third man is short height person who has felt bitter about his height always. And to some point one can agree with him. The life of short guys are not easy. There is too much bullying and people are ruthless.
But his story gives the Othello vibe. The short man find everything taunting him — reminding him of his short height. Yes the discrimination is there.. but it affect him so much that even the small things looks big. Even if it is not there, it is there because he bring it with him.
One thing I really wished the book explored more was why the girl used to cry so much. Why the forest clamed her down. It took a good start of the story and then never explained again.
In the end, the writer take the girl’s POV and I thought there would be something at the window that calm the girl down. But there was nothing. It was just trees.
Again, the story is about these 3 men whom life bring together for no particular reason. And then they go to their own path for no particular reason. And for how much the book never try to do any ‘trying’, the book is worth a short.
It is good writing meeting a simple story with fast pace.
Do I recommend Into the Trees by Robert Williams?
Yes. You can read Into the Trees only for the Raymond or Keith. Both of these characters are interesting though completely opposite.
I guess Raymond has some mental illness and in the end he lost his mind. But I do not want to enter this field in this review because if we go by this, Keith was also a victim of bullying. And the Thomas was a paranoid person. So there are mental illnesses also on play here.