El árbol ausente
Catherine François

NON-FICTION | 2009 | 127 pages

In The Absent Tree, Catherine François tells experiences of her childhood in the outskirts of Paris in the early 1960s. “Memories of a time and a place in which everything is a sign” says Santiago Auserón in the introduction. Fascinated by the suggestive power and the ambiguous sense of words, in the border where the repetitive geometry of the city meets the natural surroundings turned into an empty land, the little girl of the story and her group of friends take us back to the intrigue of these situations, apparently innocent, upon which the plot of the significances is built, along with the mysterious relationship between presences and absences, between sounds and silences. Through captivating scenes in which what can hardly be named reveals itself with surprising clarity, by means of germinating ideas and fast impressions that the reader acknowledges as part of a common memory, this book manages to transmit the emotion of the emerging thought that faces the complexity of the world. François’s prose reaches a lyrical dimension in the task of preserving, for adult life, the adventure of learning.


Catherine François decided to retrace the path of learning words, which is undoubtedly the most fascinating adventure of childhood and maybe of the adult years too.
— Santiago Auserón
The host of intensities and maps of childhood that along the years remained intact in François’ mind, give shape to The Absent Tree, a book that puts together her childhood memories since the discovery of words and signs.
— Amelia Castilla, El País
We might be talking about the simplest stories, of a concision almost lyrical, but that leave a trace, an aftertaste of having made the most of our time reading them.
— Alex Oviedo, Pérgola
The ability to build true dialogues unveils a narrative mastery which can also be appreciated in the use of ellipses and of a well measured style and vocabulary. In spite of its shortness, we suspect that it is a book that has needed time to be assembled, so a second reading will just add new nuances.
— Cristóbal Cuenca, Ritmos del mundo


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