How I Became a Tree Sumana Roy

Publication date:
26 Oct 2021
Yale University Press
248 pages: 216 x 140mm
Sales territories:
World excluding the Indian Subcontinent

First published in India to great acclaim, this exquisitely crafted meditation on trees is already on its way to becoming an international classic

Sumana Roy’s How I Became a Tree offers a new vision of what it means to be human in the natural world. Hailed by reviewers as “a love song to plants and trees” and “an ode to all that is unnoticed, ill, neglected, and yet resilient,” Roy’s stunning meditations on trees, forests, plant life, time, self, agency, and more emulate trees’ spacious, relaxed rhythms.
“I was tired of speed,” she writes, “I wanted to live to tree time.” She is drawn to trees’ wisdom, their nonviolent way of being, and their ability to cope with loneliness and pain. Roy movingly explores the lessons that writers, painters, photographers, scientists, and spiritual figures have gleaned through their engagement with trees—from Rabindranath Tagore and D. H. Lawrence to scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose and the Buddha. Blending literary history, theology, philosophy, botany, and more, this absorbing book will prompt readers to imagine a reenchanted world in which humans live more like trees.

Sumana Roy is associate professor of English and creative writing at Ashoka University in Haryana, India. She is the author of Missing: A Novel, Out of Syllabus: Poems, and My Mother’s Lover and Other Stories.