‘The Life Tree’ kicks off collection of short stories about the afterlife

Sometimes you read a book about a topic that you know nothing about, or have even thought about before.

“The Life Tree,” for me, is one of those books.

Written by Nicholas A. McGirr, a Youngstown, Ohio, native who has been living in Myrtle Beach area for more than three years now, “The Life Tree” is the first novella in “The Tree Collection.” The second is “The Umbrella Tree” and the third, available for pre-order by mid-August, is “The Rhythm Tree.”

All three are, in short, about the afterlife. More specifically, about how we will become trees when we die. There are many different kinds of trees to become in the afterlife, and each book is focused on the story of a person who has been “assigned” to become a different type of tree.

Those who become life trees are those who commit suicide. McGirr’s “The Life Tree” begins at the moment of the character’s entrance into the afterlife, a character who remains nameless. The 35 or so pages of the novella (or novelette, as it’s titled) then take the reader on the journey with the character as he (it?) tries to figure out exactly what has happened to him and what he is experiencing without the help of human senses.

It’s a bit hard to follow at first, but it’s short enough that once you finish it and get to the author’s afterthoughts at the end, you can go back and re-read it with a bit more clarity. I would also caution that if you have no interest whatsoever in the afterlife or if you have very specific beliefs about what happens after death, this might not be the series for you.

If you’re a bit more open-minded, give it a read. It won’t take long, and will likely give you food for thought, if not about the afterlife, then about what it means to be human, and what feelings are, and what memory is.

McGirr says he has been interested in the afterlife since he was a child.

“I began reading Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen King and Anne Rice books at a very young age,” he said. “I have been researching and interested [in the afterlife] ever since.”

He attended Ashford University for English and journalism, and is currently undertaking a case study of haunted locations in the Myrtle Beach area.

His books are available as ebooks and in print formats from Amazon. They are self-published works.

Reach Caroline P. Smith at

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At a glance

Title | “The Life Tree”

Author | Nicholas A. McGirr

Price | $4.99

Pages | 55