Tress: A Novella
By Larissa Brown
Author’s Website: www.larissabrown.net
Rolling of the page like a fairy tale, eloquent words elucidating a tale of wonder and excitement, Tress is definitely a novella worth the read. The anachronisms are aplenty as one gently slides from the real world to the realm of the enchanted; a gentle blend of modern medicine with its computerized prosthetics, and a firm root in the realm of the surreal realm of the fae, Tress shines in this regard. It’s a tragic tale of the survival and coping mechanisms of a traumatized girl who has grown to a young woman and the fantastical, often phantasmagorical journey through her mind.
Tress, or Tess as the book names her depending on the situation, Is a complete character package. Her words ring true to her nature and not once does the third person subjective prose waver. The words run smoothly out of the novella, giving the character the persona she needs to shine through on her journey, the character study that lie at the heart of Tress Weaving the modern day Tess to the fairy tale Tress is skillfully and subtly done, reflecting the mental trauma and sly shifts between reality and fantasy that Tess experiences. From mental wards to wood cutters shacks in medieval times, Tess’ worlds rocks in tandem with her disorder.
The book is deftly written, stylistically mimicking tales of old, with a complex underlying backstory that is revealed at a fairy tale pace. The prose reads light and airy, very wordy but not overly so and lulls the reader into a false sense of security, an event common in most fairy tales; but it leaves you breathless in the final chapter befitting of Hans Christian Anderson. The novella’s prose carries this well, as Tess’ mind flips between fact and flights of fancy. Only the pertinent information is disclosed causing a sense of interaction between the reader and the mind of a mentally traumatized woman. It’s this connection that makes the story so poignant and powerful.
The plot spins and curls on itself, winding it into a ball where it is just as difficult telling the real from the unreal as it is for the protagonist Tess. Weaving the fractured mind of a girl who suffered an accident in her youth, and who has never gotten over it from childhood, is a difficult thing to do, but Tress pulls it off brilliantly. The real part of the story and the fairy tale aspect are dexterously handled and praise must be lauded on Larissa Brown for managing this. Within the short confines of the format of the novella is a rousing, stimulating, and engaging read.
This book is difficult to pin down in terms of genre. Crossing the fairy tale lines with modern day psychological issues, it plays on both sides of the worlds, both real and fantastical. Not really a modern fairy tale, as other authors have jumped through the hoops of, Tress plays more to the psychological thriller written in the manner of a fairy tale. This is definitely a more modern, newer horizon that Larissa has paved road on.
I can’t recommend this novella enough. No matter what your taste or genre you fall into, you will definitely pull something out of Tress. A skillful masterpiece of fiction awaits and Larissa Brown hands it out in spades for any discerning reader. A quick and powerful read, Tress definitely merits a five out of five rating and will leave you wanting more. With few exceptions have I read a more compelling story, and I highly recommend this treat to everyone.