The Crying Tree
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The capacity to forgive has long intrigued Rakha. She has witnessed it in her work as a teacher and consultant for Native American tribes, as a mediator in the clean up of the nuclear site that created the Nagasaki bomb, and as a reporter covering state run executions. It was this later experience that led her to write The Crying Tree.
Set in southern Illinois and central Oregon, Rakha tells a story of a mother who must overcome the hate, grief, and secrets that surround the murder of her 15-year-old son, and defy church and family as she attempts to stop the execution of the man who killed her boy.
With the heart of a storyteller, Naseem explores the death penalty and forgiveness with her audience through the lens of our justice system, her experiences covering executions, as well as subsequent interviews with crime victims, inmates, corrections officials and exonerated death row prisoners. In composing her work, Naseem relies on the backdrop of the land and the landscape of human lives to build drama, emotion and depth. Naseem finds that within these very human stories lie a multitude of lessons about duty, honor, grief, pain, hatred and the degree to which forgiveness can not only extend but also heal. For writers searching for their own voice, Naseem has much to offer with her methods of reaching readers through characters and place.
“Beautifully written, expertly crafted, forcefully rendered. Naseem Rakha lays bare all the ambiguities and nuances of our culture in a story that is compelling and deep. The Crying Tree is a story of forgiveness and redemption, but at its core it is a love story as well, and that is the most powerful story of all.”
– Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain
“A mesmerizing book — one any writer would envy and any reader would love.”
– Jacquelyn Mitchard, author The Deep End of the Ocean
“For anyone who has ever wondered how forgiveness is possible, even when the pain is overwhelming, wonder no more. The Crying Tree takes you on a journey you won’t soon forget.”
– Sister Helen Prejean, Author of Dead Man Walking
“This book is intended to take you on a spiritual journey toward the power of forgiveness, and will cause you to pause when considering the issue of the death penalty.”
– Christina Forsythe The San Francisco Book Review
“More than a novel detailing the oft-chronicled and frequently patsied nature of forgiveness, this is a colorful and creative biography of hate — about its insidiousness and ferocity but also its fateful familiarity. In ways both subtle and overt, Rakha names it, gives it form and consequence.”
– Ellen Urbani, the Oregonian