The environment that surrounds a child plays a major role in their development, and author Matthew Revert explores the moment of crisis between two men that serves as both an origin story and moment of (possible) catharsis; Human Trees is an exploration of balance, Yin and Yang, and brotherhood. Revert, with Faulkner-esque sentence structures, explores the shared nightmare that became a wall between two men, as they meet, grudgingly, at a hospital to await news of their parents’ fate.
I admire Revert’s ability to meld a seemingly nightmarish scenario for two men into one shared experience. Neither of the brothers wishes to be in the company of the other, and Revert focuses on the mundane to illustrate their unease, a sense of discomfort that permeates the novella until the brothers make an attempt to reconcile their presence in the hospital and with their role in a tragic accident that divided them.
The tension is developed through an analysis of objects and their use / relationship to the brothers; together, the brothers endure the social disquiet that accompanies two people who do not wish to be around each other. Revert is able to allow readers opportunities to connect to the narrative with the symbols and objects that seemingly jolt the brothers out of their agony—waiting in a hospital for a very, very long time while being around each other—as social constructs are deconstructed.
Lynchian undertones allow the narrative experience to feel surreal, with strange imagery and moments that do not seemingly fit into a normalized perception of reality. But the reality for our two characters is this internal conflict they have had with tragedy that becomes externalized through the minutia of the moment. The brothers are opposing forces, yet they are seemingly rooted to the hospital, just as their roots are buried deep within the soil of a tragic past.
Revert composed an excellent literary piece, and exploring too much of its depth in a review will spoil its impact and the experience. The prose is often poetic and complex, and it may take a moment for a reader to settle in, just as it is difficult for the two brothers to settle in to a situation that forces them to understand the psychology behind their relationship and how they can grow. This metaphorical exploration of the self is an interesting work of transgressive fiction, with evocative imagery and intelligent narrative scope. Recommended if you want an introspective, surreal, intellectual work of art.