Item description for Killing Tree: A Novel (Not Available-Out Of Print) by Rachel Keener...
Overview When Mercy meets Trout, a migrant worker who opens her eyes to a world beyond what she's known, she tries to escape her insulated life at Crooked Top mountain and learns just how ruthless her grandfather can be.
Publishers Description It's the summer after Mercy Heron graduates from high school, and she's living in the household of her domineering grandfather and a grandmother whose behavior has always been erratic--some folks even call it crazy. They've raised Mercy since her mother died giving birth to her under the June apple tree, after Father Heron locked her out and ignored her pleas for help. Mercy's days are spent working at the local diner, and hanging out with her wild best friend Della. Unlike Della, she's never seriously considered leaving the insulated community on Crooked Top mountain. Not until that summer when she meets Trout, a man who opens Mercy's eyes to a world beyond what she's known--both physically and emotionally. Their relationship must be kept secret, because Father Heron won't approve of his granddaughter being involved with a migrant worker. But when Mercy tries to escape, she'll learn just how powerful, and ruthless, her grandfather can be. And the truth of her past will threaten to forever bind her to the mountain.
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Studio: Center Street
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.8" Width: 5.1" Height: 0.9" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2009
Publisher Center Street
ISBN 1599951118 ISBN13 9781599951119
Reviews - What do customers think about Killing Tree: A Novel (Not Available-Out Of Print)?
Almost Excellent Read! Oct 11, 2009
Don't start this book unless you've got time to read and read and read! You won't want to put this one down. A captivating,compassionate glimpse at characters caught between the cracks of society. The book was so good you can almost forgive the unsatisfactory end, unless you are one of those that must have everything resolved...then you will find the end frustrating. I had a hard time deciding whether to give it a 4 or 5 star just because of this, but the book itself was so good I ended up going ahead with the 5 rating. If you are someone who can appreciate the ride along the way...this book is for you.
Beautiful description of small town people May 18, 2009
Reviewed by Victoria Gonzalez for Reader Views (5/09)
This novel was a wonderful, poetic description of people living in a small town in the Appalachian Mountains. The protagonist, Mercy, has to overcome many trials with her eccentric grandmother and unforgiving grandfather. She feels disconnected from her own life, her family, and her town, and stuck in her hometown and is unable to go to college with the rest of her classmates. She finds a friend in Della DelMar, who makes her feel like she belongs somewhere, but Della is not well perceived by the town. Most of the obstacles she faces are from her grandfather, who calls her Mercy in hopes that God will show mercy on her for being a bastard child and losing her mother during childbirth. He controls her life, and even chooses men that are suitable for her. Unfortunately for Mercy, she falls in love with a migrant worker that picks tomatoes. Her grandfather and the townspeople do not approve - what follows is a poignant account of forbidden love, and the fruits of labor.
The author is a magnificent writer; her descriptions of the mountains are mesmerizing; "I crept through the wet weeds and bur briars until I was standing in front of a twisted hickory slain by the storm. Its exposed wood glowed. So bright that I could see the tears shining on Mamma Rutha's face on the other side of the tree." She captures the essence of conversation between small-town people; their short, but profound statements wrench at your heart. My favorite part was waiting for the relationship between Mercy and the migrant worker, Trout, to develop. Trout teaches Mercy about the beauty of her home, and teaches her about the life of a migrant worker, and how this way of life relates to her own. The passage about their names was meaningful and touching. I recommend "The Killing Tree" by Rachel Kenner to women who want to read a good love story that is significant and earth-shattering. Mercy is a relatable character, and being there with her the moment when she finally realizes her home in the mountains can become something wonderful makes this book very valuable.
Bewitching and Powerful! Apr 22, 2009
The Killing Tree by Rachel Keener was an amazing read. It was the kind of book you stay up until 1 in the morning reading "just one more chapter".
This is Keener's first novel, which makes it all the more impressive. The voice is incredibly unique and the plot was unpredictable. The imagery, symbolism and message were beautiful, bewitching and powerful. (And I have to say that the colloquial language used is addictive. I keep finding myself thinking in the dialect used long after I've put the book down.)
I know when a book was really good because even if I'm satisfied with the ending, I want more. I close the book and mourn the characters I will never see again and the place I no longer get to visit. This is one of those books.
The Killing Tree is about a young girl named Mercy who is coming of age in the mountains of Appalachia, the only place she's ever known. She's being raised by her grandparents, Mamma Rutha an eccentric nature-loving grandmother with a mysterious, magical connection to the mountain, and Father Heron, a strict religious grandfather who cares more than anything about his own reputation and can't stand Mercy's promiscuous best friend Della. Mercy's life doesn't seem to be going anywhere as she works her job at a BBQ diner in their small town, until she falls in love with a migrant worker named Trout. Trout is Caucasian like Mercy, but is still looked down upon as a second class citizen by those who live on the mountain, including Father Heron. Mercy must choose to toe the line, or follow her heart.
I recommend this book highly. Loved it.
A real page turner Apr 21, 2009
I loved this book! I was completely transported to another world so very different to my own. It allowed me a glimpse into the life of a young woman I might never otherwise been exposed to. I was swept up into her life, the love and freedom Mercy dreamed of and chased as well as the hurt and hate that tied her down. I highly recommend this page turner, I certainly could not put it down.
An affecting and beautiful book Apr 21, 2009
The Killing Tree introduced me to a fascinating culture and lifestyle I've never been exposed to. Mercy lives with her grandparents in a little house on Crooktop Mountain. They keep chickens and a garden to supply most of their food. Mercy walks to her waitressing job at the town's diner, where her boss, Rusty, has a crush on her. The unspoken rule of Crooktop is that a tip is between zero and ninety-nine cents...anyone tipping a dollar or more must be from out of town...so Mercy makes very little money. She has two church dresses and has to work for a long time to be able to buy another.
Mercy's grandfather, Father Heron, a deacon at their church, is controlling, scary, and responsible for her mother's death; her grandmother, Mamma Rutha, is thought to be crazy because she talks to plants, animals, and the mountain.
Mercy's best friend Della is the prettiest girl on Crooktop, and gets a lot of attention from men. One day, Della takes Mercy down to the docks (an abandoned quarry was made into a lake with docks to attract tourists...it attracted the town's young & wild instead). There Mercy meets a man named Trout and feels an immediate connection with him.
Della warns Mercy off because Trout is a 'mater migrant', or traveling tomato picker. Mater migrants are considered the lowest of the low, their reddened palms a badge of shame, and are ignored & shunned by the townspeople. Mercy finds him waiting for her after church one day, and instead of going to work, she goes fishing with Trout. Thus starts an affair which will rock the entire town and ignite Father Heron's anger to a raging inferno.
One night, Mamma Rutha enlists Mercy's help to take Father Heron's dogs up the mountain and let them go because they had been attacking the chickens and other animals. Mercy buys four lengths of rope at the hardware store for this, and Mamma Rutha leaves her ropes tied to the dogs she lets go, but Mercy takes hers home. Later, she gives them to Trout to use on his tent. That decision will cause repercussions that will stay with Mercy the rest of her life.
When Mercy & Trout run away together, they are tempted to keep going all the way to the ocean Mercy's always dreamed of. They go back to town though, because Mercy promised Della that if she ever left, she'd take Della with her. Mercy finds Della a shadow of her former self, distraught that the man she loved broke her heart. When she stays extra days with Della, Trout disappears.
Thinking he abandoned her, Mercy breaks down, and it takes the magic of the mountain and its people to save her. Later Mercy makes a discovery that endangers her life, and must battle Father Heron to save all that is precious to her...
As I finished the last page, I closed this book and just sat there. I couldn't think straight, I was overwhelmed...in a good way. I wish the ending had more resolution, but I understand why it didn't, and it fits the tone of the story perfectly. The Killing Tree was both beautiful and achingly sad. I definitely recommend it, but you should keep a box of tissues handy, because it's that affecting.