The Tree Doctor
- A Washington Post and Oprah Daily Most Anticipated Book of 2024
Caught between tending to an unwell parent and the weight of obligation to her distant daughters and husband, she becomes isolated and unmoored. She soon starts a torrid affair with an arborist who is equally fascinated by her mother’s garden, and together they embark on reviving it. Increasingly engrossed by the garden, and by the awakening of her own body, she comes to see her mother's illness as part of a natural order in which things are perpetually living and dying, consuming and being consumed. All the while, she struggles to teach (remotely) Lady Murasaki’s eleventh-century novel, The Tale of Genji, which turns out to resonate eerily with the conditions of contemporary society in the grip of a pandemic.
The Tree Doctor is a powerful, beautifully written novel full of bodily pleasure, intense observation of nature, and a profound reckoning with the passage of time both within ourselves and in the world we inhabit.
Marie Mutsuki Mockett reading and in conversation with Megha Majumdar about THE TREE DOCTOR at Books Are Magic (Montague St.)
- “Juggling the demands of caregiving, teaching, and a budding affair with an arborist, this sensual and profound novel is an exploration of the natural cycle of life and death, echoing themes of The Tale of Genji.”—Oprah Daily, "Most Anticipated Books of 2024"
“Through a yearning first-person narration, the protagonist’s trials evoke difficult but vital questions about survival and endurance. . . . These interrogations are threaded seamlessly into the narrator’s pursuit of her own power, a pursuit that reveals just how liberating the decision to dismantle and reassemble one’s self can be. An affecting story of personal transformation, as broody as it is erotic.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
- “Mockett has written a ravishing and astute tale of solitude and family bonds, distance and intimacy, disruption and healing.”—Booklist
- “Mockett brings forth a fertile tale of sex and gardening set in the early days of Covid-19. . . . This portrayal of a woman’s emotional courage and restoration makes the lockdown worth revisiting.”—Publishers Weekly