Suzanne McCourt - Australian Author
Suzanne McCourt - Australian Author
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The Tulip Tree

‘Henryk reached out to embrace him, formally, awkwardly. How rarely they’d touched since childhood, thought Adi, as he sank against his brother, how clumsy their love.’
Book Club Notes
Where to Buy
Brothers Henryk and Adam Radecki’s relationship is one of fraught love and jealously. Henryk, unhappily married, becomes a rich and successful industrialist, while Adi, a devoted veterinary surgeon, finds and loses love. Their bond is tested throughout their lives, from the 1920s, against the background of Poland’s tragic and tumultuous relationship with Russia, through war, revolution and invasion, until 1954 in the Snowy Mountains of Australia.

Adi’s wife and son are at the heart of this riveting tale, in which family secrets threaten to tear lives apart. Caught up in momentous events, each character reminds us of our power to survive extraordinary times, of the moral choices we make and the dramatic turns our lives can take.

Full of the detail of everyday life, its joys and suffering, The Tulip Tree is engrossing historical fiction at its best, a profoundly moving story of love, sacrifice and loyalty.

Interview with Kathryn Ryan about Suzanne's writing career
‘Nine to Noon’. Radio New Zealand.
14 June 2021.

Crimes of survival: Fiction can remind us that the lines between heroes and villains are not always so clear
Opinion piece by Suzanne McCourt, ‘ABC - Religion & Ethics’ website.
24 August 2021.

‘What a magnificent book!  A tale of family that weaves through so many of the tragedies of the twentieth century and yet remains personal and intimate.  So richly imagined the reader hears the tapping of footsteps in the streets, smells the tomatoes growing in the garden, and feels the longings, the losses, and the courage of these unforgettable characters.’

Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club

‘A breathtaking family saga, set in the darkest of times, about the struggle to love and the courage to go on.’

Tim Costello AO

‘A beautifully written novel about betrayal and forgiveness (especially of ourselves), about suffering and survival, about the baggage we take with us, and what we leave behind.’

Cynthia Banham, author of A Certain Light

‘A moving story of how one family survives a horrendous period in history, and of the secrets they carry with them into the future.’

Joan London, author of The Golden Age

‘A vivid and compelling story of love, loss, and resilience. Told with compassion and wisdom it reminds us of how, even after the most crushing defeats, hope can survive and renewal is possible.’

Eva Stachniak, author of The Chosen Maiden

‘Fresh with the cadences of everyday life and history, The Tulip Tree is a tender and moving exploration of one family’s fault lines and its enduring connections across time.’

Dominic Smith, author of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

‘A vivid, challenging and utterly absorbing feat of storytelling, The Tulip Tree asks what moral compass can guide souls united by love but riven by doubt, secrets, betrayals and terror, and its questions reverberate through our own times.’

Jane Sullivan, author of Storytime

‘McCourt skilfully navigates the history of Poland in the early 20th century ... and deftly demonstrates how a family saga might be shaped not only by individual character but also by the forces of history.’

Kerryn Goldsworthy, The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 2021.

‘McCourt writes with transparent honesty, taking us deeply inside her characters’ lives and those of their children as they grow up in a country under occupation.’ ... ‘The Tulip Tree is vivid storytelling at its best, atmospheric, and engrossing: a powerful and compelling read from beginning to end, and one readers will not soon forget.’

Fiona Alison, Historical Novel Society, Issue 97 (August 2021).

Adam Mickiewicz; ‘Pan Tadeusz’; Verand Press (Brandl & Schlesinger); Blackheath, Australia, 2004

Adam Zamoyski; ‘Poland, A History’; Harper Press, London, 2009

Alexandra Pilsudski; ‘Pilsudski: A Biography by his Wife Alexandra Pilsudski’; Dodd, Mead & Company; New York, 1941

Anton Chekov; ‘Sakhalin Island’; Alma Classics; UK; 2007

Art Speigelman; ‘The Complete Maus’; Pantheon; New York; 1986

Colin Thubron; ‘In Siberia’; Penguin Books; London, 2000

Czeslaw Milosz; ‘Native Realm, A Search for Self-Definition’; Doubleday; New York; 1968

Czeslaw Milosz; ‘The Issa Valley’; Farrar, Straus & Giroux; New York; 1982

Czeslaw Milosz; ‘The Captive Mind’; Vintage International; New York; 1990

Jeff Sparrow; ‘Killing: Misadventures in Violence’; MUP; Melbourne, 2009

Joseph Roth; ‘The Radetzky March’; Penguin Books; London, 1991

John Steinbeck, ‘A Russian Journal’, Minerva, 1949

D Magner; ‘The Farmer’s Encyclopedia’; Saalfield Publishing: New York; 1901

Galsan Tschinag, ‘The Blue Sky’, Milkweed Editions, 1994

Martin Sixsmith; ‘Russia’; BBC Books; Ebury Publishing, Random House Group, London, 2012

Norman Davies; ‘Heart of Europe: The Past in Poland’s Present’; Oxford University Press; Oxford, 2001

Olga Tokarczuk; ‘House of Day, House of Night’; Granta Books; London; 1998

Olga Tokarczuk; ‘Primeval and Other Times’; Twisted Spoon Press; Prague; 2010

Orlando Figes; ‘Natasha’s Dance, A Cultural History of Russia’; Penguin Books; London; 2003

Ryszard Kapuscinski; ‘The Other’; Verso; London & NY, 2008

Sarah Helm; ‘If This Is A Woman’; Little, Brown; Great Britain; 2015

Svetlana Alexievich; ‘Secondhand Time’; Random House; New York; 2016

Svetlana Alexievich; ‘The Unwomanly Face of War’; Penguin Random House UK; 2017

Tadeusz Borowski; ‘This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen’; Penguin Books; London, 1976

Treasury of Classic Polish Love Short Stories; Hippocrene Books; New York, 1997

Wislawa Symborska; ‘Nothing Twice: Selected Poems’; Wydawnictwo Literackie; Krakow, 1997


Kanal’; Andrzej Wajda, 1957

Ashes and Diamonds; Andrzej Wajda,1958

The Promised Land’; Andrzej Wajda, 1975

A Year of the Quiet Sun’, Kryzystof Zanussi, 1985

Dekalog: One’; Krzyztof Kieslowski, 1989

Interrogation’; Ryszard Bugajski, 1989

Man of Marble’; Andrzej Wajda, 1997

With Fire and Sword’; Jerzy Hoffman, 1999

The Pianist’; Roman Polanski, 2002

Katyn’; Andrzej Wajda, 2007

Admiral’; Andrey Kravchuk, 2008

Rose’; Wojciech Smarzowski, 2011

In Darkness’; Agnieszka Holland, 2012

Ida’; Pawel Pawlikowski, 2013

Volynia’; Wojciech Smarzowski, 2016

Spoor’; Agnieszka Holland & Kasia Adamik, 2017

Book Club notes for The Tulip Tree are provided by Text Publishing.
Download Notes

Copyright © 2021 Suzanne McCourt. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Acknowledgements

Copyright © 2021 Suzanne McCourt. All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Acknowledgements

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