John Everson ‘The Family Tree’ Review
Written by: Matt Molgaard
For some odd reason, I’ve been procrastinating. Delaying the writing of this review for some time… for no good reason (okay, I’ve been swamped, but you know what I mean!). I finished the novel weeks ago, and have, time and again, put off compiling this piece. Trust me when I say it has nothing to do with the quality of the novel, which, for the record, actually landed on our Top 10 of 2014 list.
The procrastination ends now.
Everson’s latest may catch some off-guard. The Family Tree doesn’t seem like the kind of story that fits into Everson’s writing style. It’s about a man who inherits an inn located in an isolated area, where it seems few would even require the utilization of an inn. The building is actually built around a massive tree. A massive tree that differs from any other. The tree’s sap has a revitalizing quality. In fact, it’s downright powerful, helping to heal the ill or injured, and preserving youth like only “The Fountain” can. But there’s a price that must be paid in order to reap the benefits of the tree. Just as man feeds on the tree, the tree too must feed, and Scott, the story’s protagonist, is about to learn what it eats, which isn’t pleasant.
Now, I say the story may catch some off-guard. That’s because Everson has built a stellar career around extreme eroticism and sadistic material. But The Family Tree doesn’t seem to present the opportunity to deliver the ultra-sexual depravity featured in the bulk of his offerings. Doesn’t seem to. Seem to. Somehow, some way, John loads this one up nice and heavy with erotica, and it actually manages to fit the story perfectly.
This isn’t Everson’s most intense fiction to date. Rather, a good portion of it works on a somewhat lighthearted note (it’s hard to get too serious when reading a book about an everyman who lands himself in multiple beds, multiple times a day… multiple days consecutively, with multiple lovely ladies) and functions on a pretty direct level. It’s not intricate, or overly complex in any one area. But it is a blast to read, and once you pick it up, you probably won’t put it down until you’ve wrapped it up.
For a quick, rewarding read, The Family Tree is a strong go-to. Sure there are a few hiccups (the romantic spin that Scott deals with feels a bit off, but we’re not asked to contemplate that element of the story until the final few pages, which helps us right through that slightly rocky patch) throughout the story. None of them are pronounced enough to negate the joy of reading the book. That said, I can see the female crowd scoffing at the story. It’s not at all what I’d call a male chauvinistic piece, but it does seem aimed at the male demographic.
I loved The Family Tree. Maybe it works for you, maybe it doesn’t. One thing that just about all should agree on is the quality of Everson’s writing. He’s as crisp as he’s ever been, and despite a somewhat deceptive concept, he’s still true to his X-rated roots, which longtime followers are going to find quite pleasing. Read the book. It’s awesome!
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