One of Stafford's top ten books about trees, as shared at the Guardian:
The Woodlanders by Thomas HardyRead about another entry on the list.
Hardy’s novels all show a deep understanding of the natural world, but this one’s so thick with trees that at times the human characters almost get lost in the woods. The woodlands supply everyone with fuel, timber, fruit and a livelihood, but Hardy, never comfortable with pleasing pastoral, directs us to the ominous figure of the elm looming over Marty ’s father. Paralysed by fear of this tree, Mr South becomes too ill to leave his house, but when Dr Fitzpiers arrives with a fresh approach and orders the tree to be felled, the shock of its removal proves far too great. His patient dies the next day.
The Woodlanders is on John Mullan's list of ten of the best locks of hair in fiction.
The Page 99 Test: Thomas Hardy's The Woodlanders.