Tree of Love

Patrick Atangan, Author . NBM $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-56163-438-5

A lovely, perplexing little book, this is the third in Atangan's series of retellings of Asian folktales. The first two covered China and Japan. This time, the story is Indian and the images are based on northern Indian paintings, but gentler and without the brash colors and sometimes bewildering designs. The story is filled with tenderness between men and women: a prince falls in love with a poor flower seller, who demands he prove why he is worth her while. He does, going through a number of trials. They marry, and she turns out to be under a spell. Every night she turns into a tree that drops flowers onto her sleeping prince. The romance ends tragically when a branch breaks from the tree in a strong wind—the sort of random occurrence that makes sense only in myth. The prince searches the world for her, encountering a real princess who falls in love with him. The princess takes her own life so he can be with his beloved. The retelling is slowly paced and simple at times—the book is not sophisticated enough for adults and may be too odd for children. Still, Atangan's beautiful art and attention to authentic detail cast a spell of enchantment. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/24/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
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