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Why Willows Weep

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Member Reviews

Why Willows Weep is a collection of tales that gives a fantastic way of giving trees and what we know of them, a new life, another way of bringing storytelling and nature back together. In this collection we learn how some trees got their berries, why some bloom sooner than others, but most importantly we read about their consciousness, their drives to be better, grow taller, how fantastic it is to read on nature, of trees, and the stories of their whys and hows! 
I was only given a touch of what the whole will be, but I can't wait to get my hands on it, truely magical!
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A tribute to the trees who give their lives to enable us to read books - that is indeed a lovely and unique idea. The concept itself is thus praiseworthy, and some of the short stories would definitely deserve an excellent rating for they're very well-written and thoughtful. Yet some others made me frown in astonishment and left me in a state of unpleasant wondering.
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Why the Ash Has Black Buds:
This beautiful story is about an Ash tree who saw men and women reading and writing beneath its shades. The author begins with:

The trees have always had some idea of what happens to them when they die.

Yes they do. They have seen their friends and neighbors being chopped down and converted to furniture, handles, wheels and what not. But the most noble of them were those who were converted to books. The trees saw these books changing lives and enlightening generations.

These trees took pride in the idea of being a Book: they thought a Book was a noble thing to become, if you had to become anything- a terrible bore to be a racer, after all, and a wheel would mean such a battering, though of course the travel was a bonus, and what tree in It’s right mind would wish to be a rack, coding, crucifix, gallows…

One such tree was Ash tree.

They saw the men and women holding their pens, and the ink that came out of them on to the paper, and although they didn’t have hands, they tried to curl their branches into fingers that might hold pens, and they dreamed it so vividly that the tips of their fingers turned black with ink as they waved against the blank white page of the sky, trying to write on it.

And this is why the Ash trees have black buds and branches bent upwards at their tips towards the sky.

I absolutely loved the story. It is a short feel good story about reading. Read it on a good morning under a tree. You will love it.😊

This One (or How the Blackthorn Got Its Flowers):
This is a cute story of Blackthorn. When once Blackthorn was young and the gifts were being distributed he got really late to the party. The gates were closed and he couldn’t get anything. He was okay though since all the other trees looks just like him. They all had stumps and branches.

On the day that the gifts were handed out they Blackthorn was late. By the time it got there,, the gate was shut and a sign had been put up saying ‘Creation complete’.

Soon when spring came Blackthorn realised what a mistake it was. The other trees started flowering. So that was the gift. Blackthorn remains the only tree with thorns. Mothers stopped children and dogs from getting near it. It also receives jibes from other trees. It was cruel.

It wanted only one thing: to hold this girl’s gaze, to spark her interest, her love, her joy- to make her come back, again and again. Something that wouldn’t tear at her tender skin, or dry out her tongue. Something from before the time when the gate had been closed, from when the Blackthorn was young and new and existed simply of greenness and a hunger for water and light.

So the hunger for water grew and the Blackthorn started storing water inside its body. Soon it swelled up and see a sudden shower of white flowers. Blackthorn was so joyful. Soon the mothers forgot the thorns and let the kids play with the white flowers on the Blackthorn.

Why Elms Die Young:
This is a story of why Elms die young. It is sort of a curse, mostly. Elm was the rudest tree in the forest where everyone was very tolerant.

The forest is a tolerant, live-and-let-live sort of place, where there is a general sense that trees should not judge one another but concentrate on their own growing.

In the midst of tolerant humble trees Elm was the only one with a severe attitude problem. He did think we was better than anyone else in the forest.

When the Ash tree finally confronted it, Elm did not have a better reason but only that he was Elm.

‘I am hornbeam,’ said the hornbeam. ‘So what? Statement of identity hardly constitutes a reason.’

‘I am Elm.’

Soon the willow tree got an idea. It called upon its beetle friend who has come down from Asia to take care of the matter. From then on as soon as the Elms got to a certain height they were plagued with the fungus. And ultimately died. This happened for a couple of centuries but everyone came back to Norma later.

A sad story though but really well written.

Scots Pine (A Valediction Forbidding Mourning):
Ali Smith’s writing has always put me at an awkward position. I love her writing. Not saying I don’t. But I sometimes fear that I am not understanding her well enough! Her thoughts are all over the stories. She is talking in multiple languages in multiple directions. It gets difficult sometimes but I am like a bee and she like a flower. I keep coming back to her and enjoy her writing nevertheless.

This particular story is about two friends with a difference in their ages. They are driving through in their car when they notice a Scots Pine tree fallen on the road. The conversations start and they talk about pines. They talk about the tree and it’s pines as if both of them know the tree better than the other. However, somewhere maturity sets in the older one. There are so many things that the younger one doesn’t know about the pine tree. It only comes with age.

The pine tree is the subject of the story but the author talks about old age and loneliness. She is trying to find a relationship with the pine tree. I really loved the story.

Here are a few lines from the beginning, if it moves you enough to read Ali Smith.

Every question holds its answer, like every answer holds its question, bound so close that they travel together like wings on either side of a seed.

Why Willows Weep:
This one tells us the tale of the trees before humans came into existence. It begins like this:

Long ago, when the world was still quite young, the trees and plants rules all living things. I say ‘ruled’ but there was no need then for rules; rather they were caretakers of creation as it emerged out of that obscure and uncharted place from which what is called ‘creation’ emerged.

Soon came the birds and the dinosaurs. Humankind took its time but it came into existence too. It learnt to feed itself, make wheel and transport itself. Started making habitats and thus the greed kept growing. So every time the Willow tree saw something unjust being done he sighed.

Soon, a female human heard the sigh as spoke to the willow tree.

‘Tell me, why do you sigh?’

‘I sigh at the sight of humankind’s wrongdoings.’

She soon learnt the art of sighing to stem the harm done. She learnt to sigh but the willow lost its gift. Now it could only bend its head and weep.

And that is why the willow weeps!
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This is a review of the abridged version of Why Willows Weep, which is originally a collection of 19 stories. This book contains six stories and sales of this book support the Woodland Trust.

Why Willows Weep contains six short stories about six different trees: Ash, Blackthorn, Wild Cherry, Elm, Scots Pine and Willow. When I originally started reading this book, I expected the stories to purely be about human experience from a human perspective – and I got something entirely different, and entirely wonderful.

The authors of each story give the trees their own unique personalities and have them tell us their stories and with it a stark reminder of why we, as humans, should not take these awe-inspiring creations for granted.

The collection as a whole is a reminder that trees pre-date as humans and discuss how they have contributed to our evolution, as well as trees being a key part of the ecosystem around us. There is a key message of the need for us to re-establish our respect for trees and woodland if we want to continue to benefit from their natural resources.

Each story is stunningly written and cleverly intertwines information about why some trees have evolved the way they have and their identifying characteristics. This book would make a lovely and unusual addition to any book collection – I have no hesitation in awarding it five stars, and I will be looking out for a copy of the unabridged edition!

Many thanks to NetGally and IndieBooks for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Funny light hearted read imaginative collection of stories well written thank you for letting me read it enjoyed
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This book was well written and very fun to read. The characters were great and I enjoyed the world building. The author does a great job at introducing the characters and moving the plot along. There were a few things that I didn't like, but it wasn't enough to really sway me one way or the other. It's definitely a story that I can get lost in and both feel for the characters. It is definitely a go-to novel that I highly recommend to anyone who loves a great read. Definitely a highly recommended read that I think everyone will enjoy.
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I received an abridged version of this work with 6 of the stories from the publisher in return for an honest review. “Why Willow’s Weep” is a collection of short stories with proceeds going to the Woodland Trust which is of course a worthy cause and I wanted to like it more than I actually did. Each tale in the book is about a native British tree species and focuses on one of its most well know attributes. Some of the tales are framed like a Just So story explaining how the tree comes to be as it is, others are more general  fables. I very much liked Ali Smith’s offering on the “lonely” Scots Pine and Sally Vickers piece on the Weeping Willow also had charm.  However, while all the stories were somewhat engaging they were very short, and this made for a slightly disjointed reading experience. The book would make a great teaching aid for anyone wanting to familiarise a class with British Fauna.
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Why Willows Weep is an enchanting collection of short stories inspired by trees indigenous to UK. It makes for a delightful and comforting read, and there's a special joy to be able to dwell on the imaginative accounts the writers have created.
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