My Yieldingtree Willow…

An extract from my real-time review here:

THE WILLOW by Justin Isis

“I had not recovered from my first sight of the willow when I looked at it a second time, noticing the insensible stillness of its base. Looking closer at that base column, I saw that it terminated in a system of thin, elongated claws that stretched through the ground itself.


I seem to have entered very special ground here, and I would need to read it again to be sure of that very ground. But here, by my own dreamcatching rules, is my first impression. For a few years now, I have been showing photographs of my own willow, calling it my yieldingtree, a special discovery near where I live, and I am unaware of any other person who is equally aware of it as I am. This seems to match the animalistic willow in this incredible story, a story of a far future world, a sort of utopia, where the narrator (letter writer) explores incursions from our animalistic past, incursions on this far future utopia. As powerful as the exploration of Area X by Jeff VanderMeer, in Annhilation, Authority…

“In their drawings, children often imprint mundane objects with the protean terror of their nightmares: murderous ovens lined with teeth, for example, or a great tower with spindly arms stretched to snatch them from the ground.”

“It existed as I suppose a cancer must exist, in a state of mindless and malign expansion.”

Area X and The Willow: a pair of coincidentally symbiotic literary works. Both mighty and separate. Both worthy of attention, although this Isis one is more an inspirational glimpse than the epic vision of Area X. But the inspirational glimpse does feed off the rest of its containing book’s surrounding context that I have hopefully adumbrated well enough above in this overall review in now apparent readiness for this story. (There is, however, one more story that I still have to read.)

“…the existence of ‘poplars’, ‘geraniums’, the terrifying ‘willow’ and other ‘vegetative’ matter cannot be reconciled with the counsel of any reputable scientific authority,…”

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