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True Northby Jim Harrison
Synopses & Reviews
The remarkable new novel from Jim Harrison is the story of a family torn apart and a man engaged in profound reckoning with the damage scarred into the American soil.
Michigan has been home to Jim Harrison for most of his life, and with his newest and most extraordinary work, he has written the long-awaited novel of his homeland, exposing both its raw beauty and the brutal ravaging it has endured over the last century. An epic tale that pits a son against the legacy of his family's desecration of the earth, and his own father's more personal violations, True North is a beautiful and moving novel that speaks to the territory in our hearts that calls us back to our roots.
The scion of a family of wealthy timber barons, David Burkett has grown up with a father who is a malevolent force more than a father, and a mother made vague and numb by alcohol and pills. He and his sister Cynthia, a firecracker who scandalizes the family at fourteen by taking up with the son of their Finnish?Native American gardener, are mostly left to make their own way. As David comes to adulthood — enlightened and enlivened at various points by an unforgettable triumvirate of intoxicating women — he realizes he must come to terms with his forefathers' rapacious destruction of the woods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, as well as with the working people who made their wealth possible. Over thirty years of searching for the truth of what his family has done and trying to make amends, David looks closely at the root of his father's evil — and threatens, like Icarus, to destroy himself.
In the story of the Burketts, Jim Harrison has given us a family tragedy of betrayal and amends, joy and grief, and justice for the worst of our sins. True North is a bravura performance from one of our finest writers, accomplished with deep humanity, humor, and redemptive soul.
"[E]arnest, initially riveting....Harrison's tragic sense of history and his ironic insight into the depravities of human nature are as potent as ever and bring deeper meaning to his (eventually) redemptive tale." Publishers Weekly
"Brooding, occasionally brutal....Bleak and uncompromising, but stout-hearted readers will be impressed by Harrison's fierce passion and dark poetry." Kirkus Reviews
"[Harrison] writes with prose that is at once well muscled and delicate....David's trail to adulthood becomes a series of episodes, which, while rich in moments, never quite gels into a focused picture." Brad Hooper, Booklist
"David's account of his soul searching and various sexual grapplings is strangely flat and listless, which is surprising, given Harrison's reputation for acute and well-rendered insight in his numerous works of fiction..." Library Journal
"Reading Jim Harrison is about as close as one can come in contemporary fiction to experiencing the abundant pleasures of living." Porter Shreve, The Boston Globe
"Harrison has quietly established one of the deeper canons in modern American letters." William Porter, Denver Post
An epic tale that pits a son against the legacy of his family's desecration of the earth, and his own father's more personal violations, True North is a beautiful and moving novel that speaks to the territory in our hearts that calls us back to our roots.
David Burkett must come to terms with his forefathers' rapacious destruction of the woods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, as well as with the working people who made their wealth possible in this family tragedy of betrayal and amends, joy and grief, and justice for the worst of our sins.
About the Author
Jim Harrison's most recent book is his memoir Off to the Side. He is also the author of four volumes of novellas, among them The Beast God Forgot to Invent and Legends of the Fall; seven novels, including The Road Home and Dalva; seven collections of poetry; and two collections of nonfiction.
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