Marie Mutsuki Mockett with Tom Barbash - The Tree Doctor (Corte Madera Store)

Marie Mutsuki Mockett
in conversation with Tom Barbash

The Tree Doctor

Corte Madera Store

Sat., March 23, 2024 • 4:00pm PT

This event will be hosted in-person at Book Passage's Corte Madera Store. Please contact webmaster@bookpassage.com with questions regarding events.
 

A startling, erotic novel about the need to balance care for others with care for one’s self.

When the unnamed narrator of Marie Mutsuki Mockett’s stirring second novel returns to Carmel, California, to care for her mother, she finds herself stranded at the outset of the disease. With her husband and children back in Hong Kong, and her Japanese mother steadily declining in a care facility two hours away, she becomes preoccupied with her mother’s garden—convinced it contains a kind of visual puzzle—and the dormant cherry tree within it.

Caught between tending to an unwell parent and the weight of obligation to her distant daughters and husband, she becomes isolated and unmoored. She soon starts a torrid affair with an arborist who is equally fascinated by her mother’s garden, and together they embark on reviving it. Increasingly engrossed by the garden, and by the awakening of her own body, she comes to see her mother's illness as part of a natural order in which things are perpetually living and dying, consuming and being consumed. All the while, she struggles to teach (remotely) Lady Murasaki’s eleventh-century novel, The Tale of Genji, which turns out to resonate eerily with the conditions of contemporary society in the grip of a pandemic.


The Tree Doctor is a powerful, beautifully written novel full of bodily pleasure, intense observation of nature, and a profound reckoning with the passage of time both within ourselves and in the world we inhabit.

Marie Mutsuki Mockett is the author of a previous novel, Picking Bones from Ash, and two books of nonfiction, American Harvest, which won the Nebraska Book Award, and Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye, which was a finalist for the PEN Open Book Award.

Tom Barbash is the author of four books as well as reviews, essays, and articles for publications such as McSweeney’s, Tin House, the Believer, Narrative Magazine, ZYZZYVA, and the New York Times. His short story collection Stay Up With Me was nominated for the Folio Prize and picked as a Best Book of the Year by the Independent of London, NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Jose Mercury News. His most recent book, the novel The Dakota Winters, was a National Bestseller, and named as an Editors Choice by The New York Times Book Review. He teaches in the writing program at California College of the Arts.

 

 

 

 

 

Marie Mutsuki Mockett photo courtesy of Alfie Goodrich. Tom Barbash photo courtesy of author.

 

Location: 

Book Passage Corte Madera
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925
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The Tree Doctor: A Novel By Marie Mutsuki Mockett Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781644452776
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Graywolf Press - March 19th, 2024