It has inadvertently been a summer for non-fiction. Beyond some very-short stories by G. K. Chesterton, the only other fiction I’ve read has been the most recent release by N. D. Wilson: The Door Before. Here’s the books opener:
Trees keep time the way time is meant to be kept.
They wrap the years around themselves in ringed layers,
expanding as the ages do. And when time forks,
so do the trees, stretching branches into cousin futures,
plunging roots into sister pasts, binding
every leaf into the one story, the only story.
The story that began. The story that cannot end,
because it can never stop growing.
The book is all about trees and living things, is centered on a mysterious grove of “lightning trees. The book, which tells the story of Hyacinth Smith and her family, is advertised as a prequel to 100 Cupboards, N. D. Wilson’s first “series” of children’s books. I read them a few years ago and enjoyed them immensely. Wilson wove many story strands together well, all while giving deep nods to the Christian tradition. Beyond that, though, The Door Before is also a prequel of sorts to another of Wilson’s series, The Ashtown Burials. That series is another great example of story strands hinting at the Christian tradition. The story of The Door Before basically involves a family with one foot in both worlds. And it works amazing well. The book tells a story all its own while also really challenging the reader to go back and revisit the connecting books. After finishing the story a week ago, I tried to find a wiki online that helped make inter-narrative connections, but it was to no avail. Perhaps the story should have been titled The Door Back, as that’s the way it works its magic.
You can order your own copy of The Door Before here. I highly recommend it and its connecting series.