Despite winning numerous literary awards, Caitlín R. Kiernan’s work has received little critical attention. Scholars have focused on Kiernan’s reworking of H. P. Lovecraft’s influential weird fiction and have discussed Kiernan’s pioneering work in New Weird fiction and short fiction. As astute as much of the critical work is, none of it addresses the cornerstone of Kiernan’s fiction: trauma. This essay considers Kiernan’s novel The Red Tree as a queer American gothic novel dealing with trauma and its lingering effects on its witnesses. Through its complex, fragmentary form and its use of dream sequences and unconsciously produced narratives, the novel invites readers to witness and consume Sarah Crowe’s trauma while loosely theorizing the relationship between trauma and queer temporality and spatiality.

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