Praise for The Lightning Tree

20th January 2015

Emily Woof’s The Lightning Tree among the most eagerly awaited fiction of 2015 in THE GUARDIAN:…

“As these sympathetic characters search for their place in the world (Mary still harbours the hope that “her life will be glorious, as it was meant to be”), Woof finds humour and poignancy in the gulf between how things are and how they ought to be.” The Observer

[This] is a novel that takes wild leaps, ducking and diving and weaving together the moments and episodes Woof wants to write about, often in an intensely impressionistic way … She is impatient with the kind of literary criticism that makes too much of a writer’s biography, but sees her own inner life as her most vital raw material: “It’s like diving, you go right under and drag stuff up. And sometimes when it bounces to the surface it’s wonderful, so exciting and effervescent, it just bubbles up.”’ Guardian

[A] comical, self-aware novel … Woof is a storyteller and you can tell this from the first few pages. The Lightning Tree doesn’t commit to being a comic novel, a narratively adventurous or a wildly philosophical one, but takes the best aspects of each and plaits them into this clever and touching story.’ Fiona Wilson, The Times

An unusual but convincing love story that charts the often-distant lives of her two distinctive and appealing characters, written with wit and a lyrical flourish.’ Daily Mail

“Woof writes with exuberant skill about the mess of metaphysics, dreams and history that can make people strangers to each other, and the inexorable life forces that can bring them back together.’ Metro


Beautifully written and lightly philosophical, it is also a page-turning gem … How [Ursula and Jerry] eventually get together keeps you on tenterhooks throughout this impressive book.’

[A] study in subtlety; [Woof] weaves her story across continents and through generations to create what becomes a surprising, and at times beautiful, novel. As a reader it creeps up on you, until suddenly it is impossible to put down; pages flick rapidly over like leaves lost to a gale.’ David Handley

The Lightning Tree is about spirituality, the power of adolescent attachments, the enigma of identity and different forms of love across generations.’ Annethology

Woof’s lyrical storytelling moves effectively through time and place, interweaving Ursula and Jerry’s futures as well as what came before them … the result is transcendent. What unfolds is a story not just of young love but of how to cope when it is lost and shattered.’ Ming Liu, Financial Times

The Lightning Tree is a more ambitious book than One Day, moving away from the relationship much of the time to focus on themes of class, family and religion. There are undertones of Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Marriage Plot, which also sees its college-age protagonists wade through issues of love and spirituality while looking for answers.’ Sarah Gilmartin, The Irish Times

Related Books

The Lightning Tree

The Lightning Tree

Faber & Faber, 2015