The Sixteen Trees of the Somme by Lars Mytting is a book I’ve been thinking about reading for a while – mainly because I’d heard it is similar in feel to All the Light we Cannot See which I loved.
I was therefore extremely pleased that my book club chose to discuss it at our meeting last night – I could add it to my teetering TBR pile without feeling at all guilty!
Edvard grows up on a remote mountain farmstead in Norway with his taciturn grandfather, Sverre. The death of his parents, when he was three years old, has always been shrouded in mystery – he has never been told how or where it took place and has only a distant memory of his mother.
But he knows that the fate of his grandfather’s brother, Einar, is somehow bound up with this mystery. One day a coffin is delivered for his grandfather long before his death – a meticulous, beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Perhaps Einar is not dead after all.
Edvard’s desperate quest to unlock the family’s tragic secrets takes him on a long journey – from Norway to the Shetlands, and to the battlefields of France – to the discovery of a very unusual inheritance. The Sixteen Trees of the Somme is about the love of wood and finding your own self, a beautifully intricate and moving tale that spans an entire century.
I put off reading it until the last minute – as I’ve mentioned before, I like to read cosy wintry favourites over Christmas – mainly children’s books.
I loved this book – and for once so did most of the book club. I thought it was beautifully written and the author’s love of wood and well crafted objects really showed through – his descriptions were wonderful.
Besides that, the mystery element was intriguing and kept me guessing. I found myself riding my pony and occupying my mind with setting out the facts I knew and trying to fill in the gaps. This is a book which will stay with me for a long time and I will definitely be reading the next one.
The Sixteen Trees of the Somme by Lars Mytting
Publisher: Maclehose Press