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True North

(2004)
A novel by

 
 
From Publishers Weekly
If the sins of the fathers are visited on the sons, what should a son do to provide moral recompense? In Harrison's earnest, initially riveting new novel, narrator David Burkett decides as a teenager in the 1960s that he must rectify the ecological damage done to his beloved Upper Peninsula area of Michigan by his rapacious timber baron ancestors. More immediately, he vows to tell the world about the rapes and abuses committed by his alcoholic father, a charismatic Yale graduate with an egregious sense of entitlement. After a foray into organized religion, David finds spiritual solace in the stark natural world, described by Harrison in soaring prose. Unable to sustain emotional connection with any woman other than his older sister, David has brief liaisons with four women, but he feels more pain over the death of his dog than of his marriage. Meanwhile, he spends decades working on a history of his despised family, only to realize that he is a dud as a writer. By this time, he's in his late 30s, a man who has never achieved maturity because his father hangs like an albatross around his neck. A master of surprise endings (Dalva, etc.), Harrison pulls off a bravura climax when David attempts to reconcile with his feckless father. By this time, though, the reader may have tired of the monochromatic narrative, composed mainly of David's anguished introspection and depressed dreams. Still, 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
Harrison is a novelist of the North Woods. Frozen lakes, remote cabins, and beer-drinking buddies are the decor of his fiction. He writes with prose that is at once well muscled and delicate. His latest novel, set primarily in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, is the tale of a boy growing to manhood and hoping to be a conscientious human being once he arrives there. David Burkett comes from a long line of men who made considerable money ruining the forests and endangering the pristine ecology of the U.P. The novel begins as a delightful picaresque yarn. Accepting or at least understanding his family's past and, more specifically, his father's abusiveness is the overarching meaning of David's journey. But the chronology becomes too disjointed and confusing, and the underlying theme of the personal redressing of the sins of one's father remains too underlying, too diffusely explored, and fails to hold the plot elements together. David's trail to adulthood becomes a series of episodes, which, while rich in moments, never quite gels into a focused picture. Still, readers of literary fiction will certainly enjoy those beautifully told moments, and Harrison has a devoted following who will be requesting this new title. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Boston Globe
"Reading ...Harrison is about as close as one can come in contemporary fiction to experiencing the abundant pleasures of living."

Book Description
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, 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, 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. 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.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Used availability for Jim Harrison's True North

Hardback Editions

August 2004 : USA Hardback
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Title: True North
Author(s): Jim Harrison
ISBN: 1-58724-736-4 / 978-1-58724-736-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Wheeler Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


May 2004 : USA Hardback
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Title: True North
Author(s): Jim Harrison
ISBN: 0-8021-1774-0 / 978-0-8021-1774-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Grove Pr
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


April 2004 : USA Hardback
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Title: True North
Author(s): Jim Harrison
ISBN: 0-8021-1773-2 / 978-0-8021-1773-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Grove Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


April 2004 : Canada Hardback
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Title: True North
Author(s): Jim Harrison
ISBN: 0-88784-182-1 / 978-0-88784-182-8 (Canada edition)
Publisher: Anansi
Availability: Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

July 2005 : USA Paperback
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Title: True North
Author(s): Jim Harrison
ISBN: 0-8021-4206-0 / 978-0-8021-4206-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Grove Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


June 2005 : Canada Paperback
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Title: True North
Author(s): Jim Harrison
ISBN: 0-88784-729-3 / 978-0-88784-729-5 (Canada edition)
Publisher: House of Anansi Press
Availability: Amazon CA   


Audio Editions

2008 : USA Audio CD

Title: True North - on Playaway
Author(s): Jim Harrison
ISBN: 1-60775-438-X / 978-1-60775-438-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Playaway
Availability: Amazon   


November 2004 : USA Audio edition
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Title: True North
Author(s): Jim Harrison
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Availability: Amazon   


November 2004 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: True North
Author(s): Jim Harrison
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Availability: Amazon CA   


April 2004 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: True North
Author(s): Jim Harrison
ISBN: 0-7861-2687-6 / 978-0-7861-2687-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Blackstone Pub
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


May 2004 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: True North
Author(s): Jim Harrison
ISBN: 0-7861-2759-7 / 978-0-7861-2759-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Blackstone Pub
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


April 2004 : USA Audio CD
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Title: True North
Author(s): Jim Harrison
ISBN: 0-7861-8689-5 / 978-0-7861-8689-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Blackstone Pub
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


May 2004 : USA Audio CD
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Title: True North Lib/E
Author(s): Jim Harrison
ISBN: 0-7861-8631-3 / 978-0-7861-8631-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Blackstone Pub
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


May 2004 : USA MP3 CD
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Title: True North: Library Edition
Author(s): Jim Harrison
ISBN: 0-7861-8560-0 / 978-0-7861-8560-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Blackstone Pub
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

December 2007 : USA Kindle edition
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Title: True North
Author(s): Jim Harrison
Publisher: Grove Press
Availability: Amazon