Monday, January 11, 2016

Beaut trees


Beautiful Trees is Nik Perring’s much anticipated follow-up to Beautiful Words, in which Alexander and Lucy’s story was told, and the second book in the genre-pushing trilogy ending with A Book of Beautiful Shapes.  

“There are many reasons to love [Beautiful Trees]. We are in a relationship with them for a start, […] like some sort of involuntary symbiotic love affair.”

There are many reasons to love Beautiful Trees. We get to find out what happens to Alexander when he meets Lily, for a start, “[a]fter Lucy went away”. Only, there are reminders of Lucy everywhere, little echoes, so that no matter how different trees may seem on the surface, the reader cannot help but notice how beautiful the words of the twenty-three stories in Beautiful Trees are, too.

Gorgeously illustrated by Miranda Sofroniou and published by Roast Books, Beautiful Trees is a visual treat of originality. Each page is printed and patterned with images that build on the symbolism revealed about the trees featured in the stories and add to the mythology of Alexander and Lily. The overall effect is one of opening a dictionary and finding that every definition not only has a map but also pinpoints another stop in the journey of a love story. 

But nothing is ever as simple as it first appears. Beautiful Trees is much more than a series of jigsaw pieces about trees and their relevance to the lives of Alexander and Lily. The book makes a much broader commentary on the significance of nature on all our lives. Not only the nature we are surrounded by, but the nature within us. 

Beautiful Trees makes us question what it is to be human, our mythology, to be connected to something greater than individual selves, and to think ahead to what may be. It’s really a book about choices, if we have them, or if we are in a bigger story arc, one where trees are the main characters, perhaps, and we are merely players, on repeat. 

“[…] without their leaves. Their bark was silver. ‘Like glowing bone,’ you said, and I knew then that we were the same.”

Nik Perring is a member of The Society of Authors, National Centre for Language and Literacy

"Nik Perring's stories are gems, every one of them" - 3 :AM Magazine

Follow him on Twitter: @nikperring