The Fly and The Tree - James I Morrow

Cathy Mardsen died in a terrible accident and everyone connected to her felt the tragic loss. That is until Baz, a PhD candidate, reviews her DNA as part of her research and comes across an anomaly that could open a world of secrets surrounding Cathy's death. As Baz digs deeper can she really be the one to uncover the truth?


Morrow's background in science comes across immediately in this novel with constant references to Baz's intricate research project and the inner-human workings that correlate to a traumatic death. For me, it was extremely enjoyable to have that additional line of narrative to add some depth and background to how important the anomaly with Cathy's data was for Baz. With that being said the fictional writing itself was a bit clunky and didn't flow easily at the start so it was difficult to get going, although from about half way through I was so engrossed in the story I didn't notice it going forward.


Baz was an easy character to relate to, for me at least, as she was a powerful woman who wanted to get on in the world. Her chance at being able to do that was hindered and she took extreme lengths to ensure she could figure out a resolution. Baz ended up being the only character I really connected with, Frankie came in and had a very sad storyline that prompted pity with the reader but he himself never got to the same level as Baz in connectivity and often felt like a spare part.


With Morrow's background being in neurology it came as a bit of a shock to me that 'The Fly and The Tree' had a twisty and charged ending. The ending itself was well disguised and revealed itself slowly to the reader with perfect timing but what let it down was that Baz, a seemingly clever and intuitive main character, took several chapters to work out the link that the reader picked up on well before. It became a little frustrating seeing the signs and evidence staring at her in the face and for her to not pick up on it.


Overall 'The Fly and The Tree' was enjoyable, the plot was strong if not a little predictable (we're told from the start that this wasn't a natural death) and characters were likeable enough to root for. For me the science aspect lifted it up a little and gave it more solid ground to stand on but I appreciate that some readers would prefer not to see that in a fiction book.


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