Tree of Strangers

Barbara Sumner

A compelling memoir of adoption, loss and discovery

‘I live at the end of a gravel road at the top of a valley consumed by bush. My husband is here, and my three girls. But the bush swallows them up like the road.’ I wrote those words at the kitchen table in 1983. A letter to the mother I’d never met. But how do you convey your life in a few sentences when almost every memory is missing?

Barbara Sumner grew up in a family filled with secrets and lies. At twenty-three she decided she had to find her mother. Remarkable, moving, beautifully written, Tree of Strangers is a gripping account of a search for identity in a country governed by adoption laws that deny the rights of the adopted person.

‘It packs a wallop’ — John Campbell, TVNZ

‘A rare window into the inner questions one asks around identity, family, right and wrong, which, if you are anything like me, will leave you reflecting on your own journey for some time to come.’ — Royna Ngahuia Fifield-Hakaraia, Shepherdess

‘Barbara Sumner’s Tree of Strangers is, through her sharp intellect and exquisitely cinematic writing, a book of ... social and literary importance.’ — Caroline Barron, Kete

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  • CATEGORY: Biography and memoir, Contemporary issues
  • ISBN: 9780995135406
  • ESBN: 9780995137899
  • PUBLISHER: Massey University Press
  • IMPRINT: Massey University Press
  • PUBLISHED: 10/09/2020
  • PAGE EXTENT: 240
  • FORMAT: Hard cover
Profile image for Barbara Sumner

Barbara Sumner has worked in film and journalism, and is a graduate of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington.