Reviews so far of these two stories:
THE FOLLOWER by Tony Lovell
In The Follower, Tony Lovell invites us to follow the life of his protagonist Dorothy through well chosen moments stretching from her early childhood to a time when she is a grownup and a parent to her son Kevin. Books and readings of particular books, at certain points in time have different consequences, consequences that Dorothy herself comes to terms with- or fails to come to terms with- on various levels. The sections depicting the young Dorothy were effectively done, and the echoes and repercussions of those experiences later in her life are well handled as well, the scenes between Dorothy and Kevin particularly effective towards the end of the tale.
TREE RING ANTHOLOGY by Daniel Ausema
Daniel Ausema uses the cross-section of a tree to show us a map of its history, drawing us far back in time beginning at the tree’s heartwood pith and tracing an unsettling line all the way to the present day at the very outer edge of the cambium, and in a final twist- beyond. The story is densely packed with rich, suggestive imagery. The original variation on the theme is refreshing, and the tale’s fantastical elements are also aptly employed to highlight environmental concerns.
Second up is my favourite story in the book. “Tree Ring Anthology” by Daniel Ausema is one of those unique and wonderful curiosities that always pop up in DF Lewis publications. The extraordinary account of a tree’s life, it is told through an analysis of its rings that map out the residual scars of disease, fire and human intervention. Anthropomorphic, dark and strangely moving, this is a superb piece of unconventional storytelling and a great twist on the theme.
Perhaps the most interesting of these interpretations is Tree Ring Anthology by Daniel Ausema that uses the pattern of rings in a tree trunk to chart significant events over the course of many years – including a nuclear holocaust and what appears to be the appearance of extra-terrestrial life forms. It’s a clever story, beautifully written and even manages a sting in the tail.
Daniel Ausema’s “Tree Ring Anthology” uses the description of the rings on a tree stump to recount a range of ecological nightmares with a science fiction edge, demonstrating again that perspective and voice can lend any subject a strange and disturbing atmosphere.