Robert Madrygin, author of The Solace of Trees
“Madrygin’s harrowing, compelling debut will live long in the reader’s memory. . . . A timely novel that introduces a writer of huge ambition, The Solace of Trees is deeply informative and moving, and it will spark debates regarding American foreign policy.” - Booklist
The Solace of Trees tells the story of Amir, a young boy of secular Muslim heritage who witnesses his family’s murder in the Bosnian War. Amir hides in a forest, mute and shocked, among refugees fleeing for their lives. Narrowly escaping death, he finds sanctuary, and after a charity relocates him to the United States, the retired professor who fosters Amir learns that the boy holds a shameful secret concerning his parents’ and sister’s deaths. Amir’s years in the US bring him healing. As Amir enters adulthood, his destiny brings him full circle back to the darkness he thought he’d forever escaped.
Described from the perspective of a child victim, The Solace of Trees is the lesser-told story of the tragedy of war, from the Bosnian War to the US policy of government-sponsored abductions. A tale shared by countless victims in countless times and places, it is both a sobering look at the hidden cost of war and an affirmation of the human spirit.
Robert Madrygin has experienced the meaning of culture, ethnicity, and language from many perspectives. He spent his early years in postwar Japan as the son of a US military lawyer appointed to defend the rights of Japanese POWs. On returning to America as a primary speaker of Japanese, he faced the first of numerous profound cultural and social shifts that have shaped much of his life. He navigated his way through an often troubled, isolated childhood that, due to family misfortunes and his father’s career, saw him move from home to home over a dozen times and that for periods of time had him placed in foster care. The Solace of Trees is his first novel. He and his wife live in Vermont.