The Claire Tree

From 2000-2001 I wrote my second novel – The Claire Tree – about the mysterious disappearance of a sister, and a brother’s unhealthy obsession with finding her. It was a melancholy novel, treating themes of loss and its effects upon a family, and the secrets that we can never know about our loved ones. The idea of other worlds, and of dualities within people was at the heart of the novel, with the metaphor of Wonderland and theatre used to illustrate this.

The tree of the title refers to the walnut tree in the family orchard, where Claire was last seen, and which her brother has anthropomorphised over the years to represent her. Set in Tasmania, it is somewhat autobiographical.

The Claire Tree Image

James is in his late twenties, a journalist, and has travelled the world looking for his sister, Claire, who vanished when he was eight. When there is a possible sighting in Tasmania, he returns home and quickly becomes involved in all the stickiness and frustrations of family. With the help of Claire’s former lover, Heath, he tries to piece together clues as to why she left and how. Finally he finds her, acting in an amateur theatre company. But is it the real Claire or is he wrapped so completely in his delusions he begins to believe anything? As his obsession begins to consume him, it also threatens to destroy everyone around him.


Chapter One

Currently Unpublished.