This week, it is nothing but a pleasure that I share with you a novel whose release I have eagerly anticipated – Robert James Russell’s SEA OF TREES.
Deep inside each of us lives a darkness. A darkness that not even those closest to us can understand, and often, are unaware that it even exists. In Russell’s debut, he does what he does best – thrusts his readers into the stream of consciousness of not just any character’s mind, but a mind all of us can relate to. An everyday kind of mind.
SEA OF TREES follows Bill, an American college student, who accompanies his girlfriend, Junko, on a journey to come to peace with the disappearance of her dear sister. They traverse Japan’s Aokigahara Forest. A forest whose history is also filled with much darkness. With each step they take, Bill finds they are not only further inside this strangely beautiful and tragic forest, but that he is further and further away from answers about… everything. Confusion and fear and stress builds between Bill and his beloved girlfriend, and he struggles to understand not only the truth behind this trip, but also what plagues his Junko. What her inner thoughts are. Because he sees that with each passing moment, Junko seemingly becomes more and more detached from him. And from life.
Hold on tight, readers, because the road to answers and the truth is a bumpy one. Russell’s writing is raw, real, and stunningly palpable. A book that will grip your soul, SEA OF TREES, will envelope you and hold you until the very end. This book. It is nothing short of a masterpiece. And will surely place Russell on bookshelves across the world for readers to enjoy. Forever.
Robert James Russell, you have a fan for life in me.
Robert James Russell, a proud Midwesterner, has known he wanted to be a writer since he was ten years old. A fan of well-placed stream of consciousness and stories that feature everyday characters and dialogue, Robert has a penchant for stories focusing on relationships in all their many forms.
In 2010, he co-founded the literary journal Midwestern Gothic, which aims to catalog the very best fiction of the Midwestern United States. It’s an area he believes is ripe with its own mythologies and tall tales, yet often overlooked. He currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.