Speakers of the Earth Book One: The Fireweed Entrance

Richard Jones. Chatwin, $17 trade paper (254p) ISBN 978-1-63398-089-1
A young man with the power to converse with trees searches for identity, community, and meaning in Jones’s dense, ponderous debut. Orphaned early in life, Ray Holdman has always been at the mercy of his uncontrollable ability. Liable to be pulled into a tree’s mind without warning, he frequently loses chunks of time and has difficulty readjusting to human conversation when he emerges, making it difficult for him to hold down a job or form relationships. When a mysterious stranger sends Ray hiking deep into the wilderness surrounding Mt. Rainier to find a place called the House of Windy Gap, he discovers that there are other people who share his power and that there is a dark side to his abilities that puts his life in danger. Jones overloads his lyrical tale with exhausting details of forests and ecology at the expense of plot and pacing, though the narrative does pick up toward the end. Ray’s characterization as an everyman who stumbles into extraordinary skills is bland and detracts from the profound themes of humanity’s impact on the natural world. This slogging tale offers occasional glimmers of insight but otherwise disappoints. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/15/2020
Release date: 03/01/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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