If Sumana Roy is doing this program from Siliguri, India, it will be 7:30 Wednesday morning for her as she gives lucky readers here an introduction to her most extraordinary book, How I Became a Tree (Yale University Press). First published in India four years ago, it has quietly, steadily built a readership there, and wherever readers might encounter it. Now, U.S. readers will have a chance to read one of the most ardent, poetic, beautifully written books in the present growing grove of books on the rooted, branched, arboreal ones we live amidst. This is a book that navigates the line between what is tree and what is not, and what is human and what is not, adroitly, respectfully, imaginatively.
“Sumana Roy has written—grown—a radiant and wondrous book, which roots and branches in complex, provocative ways, helping us recognize trees for the ‘strange strangers’ they are, companion-citizens with which we think and remember, yes, but also alien beings that draw love, hate, indifference, and even lust from us humans.”—Robert Macfarlane.
"A poetic, probing meditation on how trees are, to paraphrase Lévi-Strauss, 'good to think with.' Sumana Roy gives us a fresh and surprising look at a topic as old as the Epic of Gilgamesh, or to put it another way, almost as old as the oldest living trees."—Robert Moor. "An ode to all that is unnoticed, ill, neglected and yet resilient. . . . Roy’s true spiritual ancestor . . . is Annie Dillard. . . . Both Roy and Dillard craft remarkable, poignant sentences. Both have the ability to make mundane situations lead up to profound, even apocalyptic consequences.”—Rini Barman, The Wire (India).
Singular as this book is, we hope it helps lead to U.S. publication of Sumana Roy’s other excellent books - Missing: A Novel, Out of Syllabus: Poems, and My Mother’s Lover and Other Stories.