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The Tulip Tree

The Tulip Tree

Suzanne McCourt

  • awardCommended, ARA Historical Novel Prize, 2021
  • Henryk reached out to embrace him, formally, awkwardly. How rarely they’d touched since childhood, thought Adi, as he sank against his brother, how clumsy their love.

    Brothers Henryk and Adam Radecki’s relationship is one of fraught love and jealously. Henryk, unhappily married, becomes a rich and successful industrialist, while Adi, a devoted vet, finds and loses love. Their bond is tested throughout their lives, from the 1920s, against the background of Poland’s tragic and tumultuous relationship with Russia, through war, revolution and invasion, until 1954 in the Snowy Mountains of Australia.

    Adi’s wife and son are at the heart of this riveting tale, in which family secrets threaten to tear lives apart. Caught up in momentous events, each character reminds us of our power to survive extraordinary times, of the moral choices we make and the dramatic turns our lives can take.

    Beautifully written, full of the detail of everyday life, its joys and suffering, The Tulip Tree is engrossing historical fiction at its best, a profoundly moving story of love, sacrifice and loyalty.


    ABC: Crimes of survival: Fiction can remind us that the lines between heroes and villains are not always so clear    
    Historical Novel Society   
    RNZ: Nine to Noon   
    Suzanne McCourt in discussion with Jane Sullivan (YouTube)    

    Suzanne McCourt
    About the Author

    Suzanne McCourt’s debut novel, The Lost Child, was published by Text in 2014 and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Her novella The Last Taboo shared first prize in the Griffith Review Novella Project in 2016. Suzanne lives in Melbourne.

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    Text publication date:
    1 June 2021
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    Praise for Suzanne McCourt
    andThe Tulip Tree

    ‘A breathtaking family saga, set in the darkest of times, about the struggle to love and the courage to go on.’

    ‘I commend this book, with its superbly drawn characters, to any reader who still believes that the novel can take us on an unparalleled journey.’

    ‘A moving story of how one family survives a horrendous period in history, and of the secrets they carry with them into the future.’

    ‘A beautifully written novel about betrayal and forgiveness (especially of ourselves), about suffering and survival, about the baggage we take with us, and what we leave behind.’

    ‘Fresh with the cadences of everyday life and history, The Tulip Tree is a tender and moving exploration of one family’s fault lines and its enduring connections across time.’

    ‘A tale of love, loss, and resilience. Told with compassion and wisdom, The Tulip Tree reminds us how, even after the most crushing defeat, hope can survive and renewal is possible.’

    ‘Gripping and at times heart-wrenching…will keep you turning the pages.‘

    ‘A vivid, challenging and utterly absorbing feat of storytelling, The Tulip Tree asks what moral compass can guide souls united by love but riven by doubt, secrets, betrayals and terror, and its questions reverberate through our own times.’

    ‘What a magnificent book! A tale of family that weaves through so many of the tragedies of the twentieth century and yet remains personal and intimate. So richly imagined the reader hears the tapping of footsteps in the streets, smells the tomatoes growing in the garden, and feels the longings, the losses, and the courage of these unforgettable characters.’

    ‘McCourt skilfully navigates the history of Poland in the early 20th century with particular reference to Russia and Germany. The state of middle Europe during this period leaves the Radecki brothers and their families in constant uncertainty and danger, and McCourt deftly demonstrates how a family saga might be shaped not only by individual character but also by the forces of history.’

    ‘McCourt has written a splendid work of fiction…as a homage to the love and bravery of her extended Polish family.’

    The Tulip Tree is vivid storytelling at its best, atmospheric, and engrossing: a powerful and compelling read from beginning to end, and one readers will not soon forget.’

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