An Interview with M S Pallister

A family battle an owl and other creatures for rights to a banyan tree...what influenced this piece?

My mother, who lives in India, has a bonsai banyan tree in her house. It’s an absolutely beautiful plant with its perfectly heart-shaped leaves and tiny roots which become tiny subsidiary trunks of the tree. Yet, somehow, the miniature has always seemed artificial to me, like a picture of a large banyan tree. And I have wondered if there were a full-sized banyan tree in the house would my mother still look after it with as much care and love as she shows the bonsai, or would she try to cut it down. So “The Tree” came about as sort of a bonsai-version of our world where we must either live in symbiosis with nature or destroy it.

Which writer/body of work has informed your writing and/or inspired you?

I have from very early on, even before I wanted to be a writer, been influenced by the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, especially his short stories. His study of human nature and how people behave in the most unexpected way when faced with a crisis is remarkable. When I started writing, it was the element of magical realism in his work that really inspired me, and I began to experiment with it in different ways and settings. "The Tree” is the product of those experiments.

Read M S's short story "The Tree."