Faber Members get 10% off their first order

The Lightning Tree

Emily Woof

The Lightning Tree is a lyrical and funny novel for fans of The Line of Beauty and The Marriage Plot.

Date Published
All orders are sent via Royal Mail and are tracked: choose from standard or premium delivery.

This is a story of two young people who fall in love – and then life gets in the way.

Ursula is part dreamer, part radical in the making. Raised in a matriarchal household by a CND-loving activist, she is impatient to begin a life of adventure. But this is Newcastle in the mid-80s where girls are getting permed and their dreams go no further than copping off down the Bigg Market. Then Ursula meets Jerry, a class warrior from the wrong side of town, intellectually hungry, erudite and ambitious. It is a meeting of bodies, souls, minds and ideals. Keen to pursue the road less travelled, Ursula heads to India while Jerry goes to Oxford and the promise of politics and power. But Ursula’s family is clouded with secrets, and the past threatens to repeat itself. As Ursula searches for answers, she is soon drifting – and Jerry loses touch. What happens to young love when it is tested by real life?

In this second novel from the acclaimed author of The Whole Wide Beauty, Emily Woof interweaves across generations asking us to question the nature of love in all its forms.

Critic Reviews

Woof finds humour and poignancy in the gulf between how things are and how they ought to be.

The Observer
Critic Reviews

[A] comical, self-aware novel...Woof is a storyteller and you can tell this from the first few pages. The Lightning Tree doesn't commit to being a comic novel, a narratively adventurous or a wildly philosophical one, but takes the best aspects of each and plaits them into this clever and touching story.

The Times
Critic Reviews

Woof's lyrical storytelling moves effectively through time and place, interweaving Ursula and Jerry's futures as well as what came before them ... the result is transcendent. What unfolds is a story not just of young love but of how to cope when it is lost and shattered.

Financial Times
Critic Reviews

[An] indubitable talent.

Critic Reviews

The sheer brilliance of Woof's prose pulls you into the story ... [T]he vigour and humour of The Lightning Tree make it a winner.

Critic Reviews

An unusual but convincing love story that charts the often-distant lives of her two distinctive and appealing characters, written with wit and a lyrical flourish.

Daily Mail

Born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Emily Woof has written for stage, film and radio. Her plays include Sex III for the Royal Court, Revolver and Going Going for the South Bank Centre, and, for BBC Radio 4, Pianoman, Baby Love and Home to the Black Sea. She wrote and directed Meeting Helen for FilmFour, and directed the prize-winning short film…

Read More