Given the time of year, you would be forgiven for thinking that Nik Perring’s latest collection, Beautiful Trees, was a stocking stuffer. After all, it is small, paperback, illustrated and full of bite-size morsels. But this book, the second in a trilogy of collections begun last spring with Beautiful Words, is so much more than that.
You might notice that I called both of these books collections, but I didn’t say collections of what. Some might call them flash fiction, others a linked narrative. Others, like me, might just throw away the need for a label and enjoy this quirky blanket woven together by Nik’s words plus the drawings of the equally idiosyncratic artist, Miranda Sofroniou. When I wrote about Nik and his Beautiful Words here, I said
‘From each word grows a story and, when taken together, the stories create an overarching narrative.’
The same is true of this collection, but even more so, since the impetus for each piece actually does grow from a tree.  Each piece is named after a tree, which is both described but also used to invoke a moment in the lives of two characters, Alexander and Lily, whom we feel we know, despite knowing them hardly at all.
This really is a lovely, creative, interesting work by Perring. I’m already looking forward to the last part of the trilogy. (And what a lovely gift a boxed set of all three would be! – note to Roast Books).