True North

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Grove Press, 2005 - Fiction - 388 pages
3 Reviews
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, Jim Harrison's 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 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-often guided and enlightened by the unforgettable, intractable, courageous women he loves-he realizes he must come to terms with his forefathers' rapacious destruction of the woods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, as well as the working people who made their wealth possible.

Jim Harrison has given us a family tragedy of betrayal, amends, and justice for the worst sins. True North is a bravura performance from one of our finest writers, accomplished with deep humanity, humor, and redemptive soul.

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True north: a novel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Narrator David Burkett gets right to the point on the first page of this book, proclaiming "My father was so purely awful that he was a public joke in our area." And truly the man is a monster: he ... Read full review

Review: True North

User Review  - Gail - Goodreads

I'm between a 3 and a 4 on this one. Actually, I'll give it a 3.5 - i enjoyed the descriptions of upper Michigan, which is similar to Minnesota in the harshness of its' winter, so it felt like going ... Read full review

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Page 1 - Both of his hands had been severed at the wrist and the stumps had been tightly bound with duct tape. His normally withered forearms now bulged with an unsightly color. When they had pushed us out from the estuary on a falling tide before dawn I had been given only one oar.

About the author (2005)

James Thomas Harrison was born on December 11, 1937 in Grayling, Michigan. After receiving a B.A. in comparative literature from Michigan State University in 1960 and a M.A. in comparative literature from the same school in 1964, he briefly taught English at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. During his lifetime, he wrote 14 collections of poetry, 21 volumes of fiction, two books of essays, a memoir, and a children's book. His collections of poetry included Plain Song, The Theory and Practice of Rivers, Songs of Unreason, and Dead Man's Float. He received a Guggenheim fellowship for his poetry in 1969. His essays on food, much of which first appeared in Esquire, was collected in the 2001 book, The Raw and the Cooked. His memoir, Off to the Side, was published in 2002. His first novel, Wolf, was published in 1971. His other works of fiction included A Good Day to Die, Farmer, The Road Home, Julip, and The Ancient Minstrel. His novel, Legends of the Fall, was adapted into a feature film starring Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt. Harrison wrote the screenplay for the movie. His novel, Dalva, was adapted as a made-for-television movie starring Rod Steiger and Farrah Fawcett. He died on March 26, 2016 at the age of 78.

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