Books·Canadian

The Boys in the Trees

Mary Swan's novel follows an immigrant family's desperation when the father is accused of embezzlement.

Mary Swan

William, his wife and 2 daughters, new immigrants to a small town in southern Ontario, are the picture of a devoted family. But when he is accused of embezzlement, William commits an unthinkable crime, and those who believed him to be an affectionate, attentive father are brought up short. Mary Swan examines the intricate and unexpected connections between the people in this close-knit community that continue to echo into the future. In her nuanced, evocative descriptions, a locket contains immeasurable sorrow, trees provide refuge for lost souls and grief clicks into place when a man cocks the cold-steel hammer of a revolver. The Boys in the Trees offers a chilling story that swells with acutely observed emotion and humanity. (From Vintage Canada)

From the book

The pain nudges her awake, boring into her right eye, and in the dark she reaches for the drops, the bottle rocking on the nightstand, and lies back, thinking, There now. There now. Thinking that perhaps her mother will have to take the school again, and that will mean another wasted day, long tales about her courtship, her slender ankles. The children will twitch in their chairs, waiting. Waiting until she comes to the part about the storm at sea and the sailor who was washed overboard, the look on his face. On this day, Alice thinks, as the warmth moves through her, on this day there should be no more dwelling on death.


From The Boys in the Trees by Mary Swan ©2008. Published by Vintage Canada.