Mary Swan

The Boys in the Trees

Boys-in-the-TreesIt is the turn of the twentieth century and William Heath, his wife and two daughters are new immigrants to a small town, and the picture of a devoted family. But when accusations of embezzlement spur William to commit an unthinkable crime, those who believed him to be an affectionate, attentive father are brought up short. With beautifully crafted prose, Mary Swan examines the intricate and unexpected connections between the people in this close-knit community that continue to echo into the future. In her nuanced, evocative descriptions a locket contains immeasurable sorrow, trees provide refuge to lost souls, and grief clicks into place when a man cocks the cold steel hammer of a revolver. A supreme literary achievement, The Boys in the Trees offers a chilling story that swells with acutely observed emotion and humanity. (Vintage Canada, 2013)

Giller Prize – shortlisted
Amazon First Novel Award –
Globe & Mail Top 100


Read an Excerpt


“A mesmerizing novel, that can truly claim to be filled with a ‘terrible beauty.’ ”

Alice Munro

“A lovely poignant novel, the movement of the narrative in time and space as natural and intricate as the movement of waves.”
Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall

 “Swan’s prose is tense, rhythmic and emotionally evocative . . . “
 New York Times Book Review

“This is a story that, despite its bleakness, is a joy to read. Swan’s writing is both emotionally challenging and technically skillful. A beautifully sad success.”
Quill & Quire (starred review)

“Beautifully written, the novel transpires in close-up, conveying a sense of intimacy and moving us right into the realm of the sometimes glorious, sometimes ghastly details. There are scenes you will not soon forget.”
Ann Beattie

“Mary Swan is the sort of writer that you just want to keep on reading. … The rhythm of her words, the cadence of her sentences is pitch-perfect.”
Montreal Gazette

“Mercurial and mesmerizing, dark but thrilling … a splendid book that, once started, is very hard to put down.”
 Globe & Mail  

ChaptersIndigo   icon-amazonMcnally Robinson