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About the book
  • Published: 7 February 2013
  • ISBN: 9781446433928
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 976

Far From The Tree

A Dozen Kinds of Love


Sometimes your child – the most familiar person of all – is radically different from you. The saying goes that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But what happens when it does?


Sometimes your child - the most familiar person of all - is radically different from you. The saying goes that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. But what happens when it does?

Drawing on interviews with over three hundred families, covering subjects including deafness, dwarfs, Down's Syndrome, Autism, Schizophrenia, disability, prodigies, children born of rape, children convicted of crime and transgender people, Andrew Solomon documents ordinary people making courageous choices. Difference is potentially isolating, but Far from the Tree celebrates repeated triumphs of human love and compassion to show that the shared experience of difference is what unites us.

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for General Non-fiction and eleven other national awards. Winner of the Green Carnation Prize.

  • Pub date: 7 February 2013
  • ISBN: 9781446433928
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 976

About the Author

Andrew Solomon

Andrew Solomon holds a PhD in psychology from the University of Cambridge; is a professor of psychology at Columbia University and President of PEN American Center; and is a regular contributor to the Guardian, the New Yorker, and the New York Times. A lecturer and activist, he is the author of Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, which won the Wellcome Trust Book Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and many other awards; and The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, which won the National Book Award, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and has been published in twenty-four languages. His TED talks have been viewed over 12 million times. A dual UK/US national, he lives in London and New York. www.andrewsolomon.com.

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Praise for Far From The Tree

“The tales Solomon returns with, of profound disability and extreme differences overcome, make it a bible of empathy and inclusion”

Cressida Connolly, Spectator

“Andrew Solomon’s Far From The Tree is a prodigious, illuminating book about the challenge of being a parent – especially when children are out of the ordinary”

Tim Adams, Observer

“Life-affirming, thought provoking and highly readable, the book was compiled over 10 years of interviews and I found it deeply moving”

Kate Kellaway, Observer

“Many accounts are desperately moving, but Solomon goes far beyond cheap pity... The book is an exquisite written study of parental love – as well as "a how-to manual for receptivity"”

Kerry Hudson, Herald

“[A] magnificent study of disability and identity differences”

Susannah Meadows, New York Times

“This wise book is a careful and surprising study of difference between parent and child and how it shapes our lives”

Stephen Grosz, Sunday Telegraph

“For anyone struggling with decisions over parenting, it’s an affirming reminder that there is no such thing as “normal””

Femke Colborne, Big Issue in the North

“Parents – especially mothers – are the heroes of this book, many of them describing with extraordinary absence of self-pity how they have coped with almost unimaginable adversity”

Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times

“Solomon really makes you think... Uniquely brilliant”

William Leith, Evening Standard


The Times

“A fascinating examination of the accommodation of difference... Philosophical dividends accrue as you read story after story of ordinary families made remarkable by circumstance”

Emma Brockes, Guardian


Sunday Telegraph

“Monumentally good”

William Leith, Scotsman

“A far-reaching and fascinating study upon humanity... It is intelligent and is certainly an important contribution to the field of child psychology”

Kirsty Hewitt, Nudge

“It is very rare for a book to smack the reader in the face, almost with every paragraph. That this reviewer had constantly to stop reading, in order to reflect and digest, is testament to a work of rare power... This book will change you”

Tamim Sadikali, Bookmunch

“Utterly fascinating, beautifully written and deeply moving… Thoughtful and humane… Totally gripping from beginning to end”

Anna Carey, Irish Times

“You may want to save it for a holiday or similar period as it will draw you in so completely that it is hard to stop reading”

SEN Magazine

“A beautifully written psychiatric study of difference and compassion”

Jessie Burton, UK Press Syndication

“It's an incredible book, that had me crying on the bus more than once”

Reading Matters

“Helping to improve attitudes.”

David Aaronovitch, The Times

“Outstanding book.”

Louise France, The Times

“I am staggered by these unsentimental and inspiring stories.”

Sharon Guskin, The Lady

“He writes unsentimentally… Reading this book changed the course of my work.”

Henny Beaumont, Big Issue in the North

“Far from the Tree is a landmark, revolutionary book… Andrew Solomon plumbs his topic thoroughly, humanely, and in a compulsively readable style that makes the book as entertaining as it is illuminating.”

Jennifer Egan

“One of the most extraordinary books I have read in recent times – brave, compassionate and astonishingly humane. Solomon approaches one of the oldest questions – how much are we defined by nature versus nurture? – and crafts from it a gripping narrative. Through his stories, told with such masterful delicacy and lucidity, we learn how different we all are, and how achingly similar. I could not put this book down.”

Siddhartha Mukherjee

“A passionate and affecting work that will shake up your preconceptions and leave you in a better place. It’s a book everyone should read… there’s no one who wouldn’t be a more imaginative and understanding parent – or human being – for having done so… breathtaking reading.”

Julie Myerson, New York Times

“Andrew Solomon reminds us that nothing is more powerful in a child’s development than the love of a parent. This remarkable new book introduces us to mothers and fathers – many in circumstances the rest of us can hardly imagine – who are making their children feel special, no matter what challenges come their way.”

President Bill Clinton

“"Parenting," writes Andrew Solomon in Far from the Tree, "is no sport for perfectionists." It's an irony of the book, 10 years in the making and his first since The Noonday Demon, that by militating against perfectionism, he only leaves the reader in greater awe of the art of the achievable. The book starts out as a study of parents raising "difficult" children, and ends up as an affirmation of what it is to be human.”

Emma Brockes, Guardian

“The first thing you should know about Andrew Solomon’s new book, Far From the Tree, is that it’s a monumental work. This is a masterpiece of non-fiction, the culmination of a decade’s worth of research and writing, and it should be required reading for psychologists, teachers, and above all, parents. Far From the Tree is a stunning work of scholarship and compassion.”

USA Today

“Knotty, gargantuan and lionhearted… Mr. Solomon’s first chapter, entitled 'Son', is as masterly a piece of writing as I’ve come across all year. It combines his own story with a taut and elegant précis of this book’s arguments. It is required reading.”

Dwight Garner, New York Times

“Far-reaching, original, fascinating - Andrew Solomon's investigation of many of the most intense challenges that parenthood can bring challenges us all to reexamine how we understand human difference. Perhaps the greatest gift of this monumental book, full of facts and full of feelings, is that it constantly makes one think, and think again.”

Philip Gourevitch

“An informative and moving book that raises profound issues regarding the nature of love, the value of human life and the future of humanity.”

Kirkus (starred review)

“Solomon is a storyteller of great intimacy and ease… [He] creates something of enduring warmth and beauty: a quilt, a choir.”

Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe

“Andrew Solomon provides us with an unrivalled educational experience about identity groups in our society, an experience that is filled with insight, empathy and intelligence. Reading Far from the Tree is a mind-opening experience.”

Eric Kandel, author of The Age of Insight and winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine

“Solomon is in many ways the perfect writer for the subject – nuanced, thorough, humane, and a gifted stylist.”

Nathan Heller, New Yorker

“Far From the Tree is a book of extraordinary ambition… From a writer known primarily as a historian of sadness, this sweeping tribute to the joys of parental love can be startling and ecstatic.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“A ground-breaking book”

The Economist

“Brought to life by its intimate domestic voices, many of them people who ended up falling in love with children they never knew they wanted”


“A life-changing book”

Irish Examiner

“Nobody could read this extraordinary, moving book and not feel enlightened, but above all enlarged, by it.”

Sam Leith, Spectator

“I'd suggest this be made compulsory reading for an couple considering having a baby... This is a remarkable work: moving but never bathetic, challenging in parts but always worth the effort. I'd call it extraordinary - if only Solomon would let me.”

Rosamund Urwin, Evening Standard

“A book brimming with poignancy”

Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times

“A fascinating examination of the accommodation of difference”

Emma Brockes, Guardian

“You don't so much read Far from the Tree as cohabit with it; its stories take up residence in your head and heart, messily unpack themselves and refuse to leave”

Tim Adams, Observer

“A generous, humane and — in complex and unexpected ways — compassionate book about what it means to be a parent”

Julie Myerson, Scotsman

“The book is about people and their experiences and it is rich with their strategies, smiles and sadnesses”

David Aaronovitch, The TImes

“Solomon writes movingly of the resources of support and empathy that he found among communities of the deaf, dwarfs, transgender children and people with Down’s syndrome”

Jane Shilling

“A catalogue of astonishing tenacity and unexpected joy that inevitably expands both our sympathies and sense of wonder at the immense variety of human experiences”

Laurence Scott, Financial Times

“This is a remarkable work: moving but never bathetic, challenging in parts, but always worth the effort”

Rosamund Urwin, Evening Standard

“Nobody could read this extraordinary, moving book and not feel enlightened, but above all enlarged by it”

Sam Leith, Spectator

“Far From the Tree is the most important book I’ve ever read. It is a masterpiece of research; giving an impressive insight into human relationships and our tolerance of those who are different. If everyone read this book the world would be a better place”

Farm Lane Books

“A monumental and generous-hearted book, balanced between the universal and the particular, and gorgeously observed”

Deborah Cohen, Literary Review

“Solomon’s compassionate study of these dozen loves that are, and are not, like each other, illuminates not so much the heroism of difficult kinds of love as the adaptability of every kind”

Siobhan Garrigan, The Tablet

“A triumphant celebration of the power of parental love”

Maggie Fergusson, Intelligent Life

“Forces] the reader to meditate on a number of wrenching, often heart-breaking aspects of existence. And to mediate as well on questions of stigma and prejudice, callousness and cruelty, the widespread and extraordinary intolerance of human diversity, and the horrors that those attitudes and behaviours heap on the heads of those whose lives are already extraordinarily difficult, and on the head of those who love and care for them”

Andrew Scull, Times Literary Supplement

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