The Banyan Tree
By Christopher Nolan
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780385720687, 384pp.)
Publication Date: February 12, 2002
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Covering the eighty-plus years of the life of Minnie O’Brien, The Banyan Tree is a rich saga of rural Ireland in the twentieth century. In prose as lushly layered as the land it describes, Nolan lovingly details the triumphs and tragedies of this spirited woman, who struggles to keep body and soul, as well as her modest hopes, alive. While her three grown children have long since moved away, she is determined to keep her family’s farm from the tightening grip of her unscrupulous neighbor, in the hope that one day her youngest will return to claim what is rightfully his. Weaving from the gentle world of Minnie’s youth to the harder realities of the present, this sage and soulful story pays homage to a feisty individual spirit as well as a rich collective past.
Christopher Nolan is also the author of Under the Eye of the Clock, which won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award. He died in 2009.
“Richly–even baroquely–told…. Nolan writes with verve.”–The New York Times Book Review
“Nolan’s soaring language and lilting, alliterative style suffuse…the book with a sense of the miraculous.”–The Philadelphia Inquirer
“A work of genius. Everything in this charming story simmers with life…. Unflaggingly engaging.”–The Christian Science Monitor
“Nolan…makes the ordinary extraordinary. In his hands, a simple tale of a countrywoman’s steadfast strength becomes an elegiac, enthralling epic; funny, poignant, and as earthy as the Irish sod it’s set on.”–BookPage
“Nolan is a stunning writer.”–The New York Review of Books
“Nolan manages to make a familiar story of rooted parents and rootless children seem sparklingly original.”–The Sunday Times (London)
“Nolan’s memorable narrative is a brilliantly observed marvel of atmosphere and humanity, as sophisticated as it is simple and ripe with rich, earthy, inventive language. Few novels will beguile as much.”–Image Magazine
“Told with considerable warmth…. A novel like this one…is to be valued for its celebration of the way in which the imagination changes things.”–The Irish Times
“Nolan . . . mesmerizes us from the opening passage . . . his descriptive prowess reminds one of Joyce as he takes this simple family story and breathes into it clarity and understanding.” –The Boston Globe
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org