The Persimmon Tree Narrative
Reviewed by Stephanie Elizabeth Long for Reader Views (10/22)
He is reading on his newly renovated back porch when he hears the persimmon tree greet him. “Hello, Michael,” it says. Assuming that he has imagined it, sixty-two-year-old Michael Brookshire ignores it. But the relentless tree continues communicating, leaving the man questioning his sanity. Finally, after assuring Michael that he is not losing his mind, the tree astounds him by reading his thoughts and conversing non-verbally. Michael is enthralled and has many questions about the tree. Still, the tree is stubborn and works on its own time—often dodging Michael’s inquiries and responding with nebulous statements. Throughout their time together, they discuss various topics—some lighthearted and others take on a somber tone, but the friendship between the unlikely pair continues to grow. It seems they both have things to teach one another.
“The Persimmon Tree Narrative” by Michael Brookshire is a spiritual book with an intriguing premise. It is told from the first-person perspective, following the main character’s conversations with the tree spanning six years. Their engaging, often philosophical discussions were delivered in a way that made me see things in a new light. Questions and statements posed by the tree sparked further rumination. Further, Michael’s revelations regarding human existence, his mortality, and the All fed my curiosity. Each chapter addressed different topics and often began with the tree asking Michael an open-ended question to ponder.
This is not a book that can be absorbed in one sitting—it needs to percolate. For me, that meant a few nights of tossing and turning while the proverbial wheels in my brain furiously turned, yearning to find answers to existential questions. What do human lives mean in the grand scheme of things? Why do I matter, and are my fears protecting me, or are they holding me back? Through the interactions between Michael and the tree, the author has done a compelling job of taking readers by the hand and leading them down a path of self-discovery.
That said, there were instances when my interest waned. While I looked forward to the encounters between Michael and the tree, I found the time in between difficult to endure, particularly when Michael got introspective. His inner dialogue lacked emotion and would often start with a thought and then manifest into a lengthy tangent. At times, he seemed stuck on mundane details, which caused confusion and didn’t resonate with me as a reader.
Overall, I found “The Persimmon Tree Narrative” immersive and thought-provoking. Despite the slower parts, the book’s lure was its unique premise, and I would recommend it to contemplative and spiritual readers on a quest to make sense of the universe.