Apple, Tree
Lise Funderburg, various authors

Book cover image

Narrated By: various narrators, Robin Miles, Elisabeth Rodgers, Kevin Kenerly, Kyla Garcia, Steven Jay Cohen, Dara Rosenberg, Janet Song, Bronson Pinchot, Feodor Chin

Duration: 8 hours and 26 minutes

What to expect

It happens to us all: we think we’ve settled into an identity, a self, and then out of nowhere and with great force, the traces of our parents appear to us, in us—in mirrors, in gestures, in reaction and reactivity, at weddings and funerals, and in troubled thoughts that crouch in dark corners of our minds.

In this masterful collection of new essays, the apple looks at the tree. Twenty-five writers deftly explore a trait they’ve inherited from a parent, reflecting on how it affects the lives they lead today—how it shifts their relationship to that parent (sometimes posthumously) and to their sense of self.

Apple, Tree’s all-star lineup of writers brings eloquence, integrity, and humor to topics such as arrogance, obsession, psychics, grudges, table manners, luck, and laundry. Contributors include Laura van den Berg, S. Bear Bergman, John Freeman, Jane Hamilton, Mat Johnson, Daniel Mendelsohn, Kyoko Mori, Ann Patchett, and Sallie Tisdale, among others. Together, their pieces form a prismatic meditation on how we make fresh sense of ourselves and our parents when we see the pieces of them that live on in us.


Literary essays, Humour collections and anthologies, Relationships and families: advice and issues

Listen to a sample

“Ann Patchett, Daniel Mendelsohn and Laura van den Berg, among others, meditate on how attributes both physical and spiritual tie us to and distance us from our elders.”

Washington Post

“An engrossing anthology of twenty-five delightfully diverse personal essays.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune

" Apple, Tree is a sweet, smart collection, and—it has to be said—a perfect gift for a parent you love.”


“A sparkling anthology…These essays, in addition to being resonant in their own right, will also move readers to recollect stories of their own parents.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The narrators bring sympathetic, nuanced takes on the twenty-five writers who share their stories in this collection. Some of these stories are humorous, some sad, and all are touching in their own way…An engaging listen.”