Synopses & Reviews
“For years I have carried this book...with me on travels to reread, ponder, envy. In prose of classic gravity, precision, and delicacy, Fowles addresses matters of final importance.”
—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“The Tree is the fullest and finest exploration Ive ever read of how the useless delights to be discovered in nature can ripen into the practice of art.”
—Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift
“The most original argument for wilderness preservation I have encountered.”
Finally back in print, here is the 30th anniversary edition of The Tree—the renowned English novelist John Fowless (The Magus, The French Lieutenants Woman) moving meditation on the connection between the natural world and human creativity. An inspiring modern ecological classic, The Tree is both a powerful argument against taming the wild and a major authors inspiring and beautifully written defense of “the joys of getting lost,” and of spontaneity in life and art.
John Fowles (1926-2005) is widely regarded as one of the preeminent English novelists of the twentieth century—his books have sold millions of copies worldwide, been turned into beloved films, and been popularly voted among the 100 greatestnovels of the century.
To a smaller yet no less passionate audience, Fowles is also known for having written The Tree, one of his few works of nonfiction. First published a generation ago, it is a provocative meditation on the connection between the natural world and human creativity, and a powerful argument against taming the wild. In it, Fowles recounts his own childhood in England and describes how he rebelled against his Edwardian fathers obsession with the “quantifiable yield” of well-pruned fruit trees and came to prize instead the messy, purposeless beauty of nature left to its wildest.
The Tree is an inspiring, even life-changing book, like Lewis Hydes The Gift, one that reaffirms our connection to nature and reminds us of the pleasure of getting lost, the merits of having no plan, and the wisdom of following ones nose wherever it may lead—in life as much as in art.
In this series of moving recollections involving both his childhood and his work as a mature artist, Fowles explains the impact of nature on his life and the dangers inherent in our traditional urge to categorize, to tame, and ultimately to possess the landscape.
About the Author
John Fowles was born in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, England, and won international recognition with his first novel, The Collector, in 1963. His many other bestselling novels include The Magus (1966), Daniel Martin (1977), and The French Lieutenants Woman (1969), which was turned into an acclaimed film starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons. John Fowles died in 2005.