True North

Jim Harrison

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True North

True North True North is the story of a family torn apart and a man engaged in profound reckoning with the damage scarred into the American soil The scion of a family of wealthy timber barons David Burkett has

  • Title: True North
  • Author: Jim Harrison
  • ISBN: 9780802117731
  • Page: 268
  • Format: Hardcover
  • True North is the story of a family torn apart and a man engaged in profound reckoning with the damage scarred into the American soil The scion of a family of wealthy timber barons, David Burkett has grown up with a father who is a malevolent force than a father, and a mother made vague and numb by alcohol and pills He and his sister, Cynthia, a firecracker who scanTrue North is the story of a family torn apart and a man engaged in profound reckoning with the damage scarred into the American soil The scion of a family of wealthy timber barons, David Burkett has grown up with a father who is a malevolent force 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, and often to play parent to their dissolute elders 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 In the course of 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 to destroy himself.

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      Posted by:Jim Harrison
      Published :2018-06-08T20:57:47+00:00

    One thought on “True North

    1. Robert on said:

      I read this at the perfect time which is to say after having read several volumes of his novellas, it was helpful to have a meaningful understanding of the themes that seem to concern Mr. harrison. Harrison strikes me as a special writer in terms of a particular kindness to his readers. He always intends delivers the goods to his readers in the form of a dynamic narrative. His stories are variously entertaining, his characters I certainly find endearing. Supporting his narrative is a lot of hard [...]

    2. Colleen O'Neill Conlan on said:

      So good! I find myself very drawn to Harrison's writing and storytelling. This is different from the three novellas in Legends of the Fall. With those there was a beautiful remote distance in the telling, while this first-person narration feels more intimate. Here, young David Burkett IV, coming from a family with great wealth on both sides, takes it as his life's mission to understand and fully examine how his forbears, land barons who logged and mined in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, exploi [...]

    3. Carl R. on said:

      I’ve done it again, I think. I’ve probably missed out and misjudged. Jim Harrison seems to be an author of some note and some longevity. His books have been responsible for a couple of movies, one of which (Legends of the Fall) I’ve heard of, though not seen. However, I’d never heard of either True North, nor of Jim Harrison till my neighbor dropped the novel on my porch. What’s more, judging by this book, I’m not inclined to explore the his work further. We join our protagonist, Dav [...]

    4. Michael on said:

      A disturbing yet satisfying read. As with all Harrison fiction (this is my sixth), you are immersed in the painful moral struggles of his protagonist, in this case the life long journey of David to come to terms with the evils of his ancestors and father. They made their money clearcutting vast areas of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and his father became an alcoholic and sexual predator. David has a good heart, but finds no clear pathway to make amends or forge a healthy family of his own. Instead [...]

    5. Nancee on said:

      True North is a young man's search for answers regarding the destruction of thousands of acres of White Pines in Northern Michigan, and his ancestors' greed. Mining was another ruthless endeavor of greed throughout the Burkett ancestors. David Burkett's life reveals a deep and complicated story of overwhelming circumstances, both in his family, and his personal life. Alcoholism and rape are examples of sinister situations included in this account of the Burkett family.I'm impressed with Jim Harr [...]

    6. Tim Lepczyk on said:

      Writing is about making choices. We choose what to write about, from whose perspective to tell a story, and what we want our audience to take away from the narrative. In looking at, True North, let's examine the choices Harrison made. He chose this novel to be in the first person. The events are narrated by, David Burkett, the wealthy son from a family that logged and mined the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for three generations. Why use first person for this novel? What does it achieve?First pers [...]

    7. Alene on said:

      This was a great story, a little gloomy, but so well told, that I just loved it. Its so interesting not only the things we choose to take on in this life, but our ways of going about it as well. Sometimes we take on burdens that aren't ours because we feel like we have to or we actually believe they are ours. And we get so accustomed to being the way we are that it's extremely difficult to change. The characterization was wonderful, though I would certainly hope to not be any of the characters i [...]

    8. Drew on said:

      This was the first book that I read of Harrison's, back when I was 24 (I bought it for the title as I'm a native of Northern Michigan). It took a while to get used to the writing but was a literary watershed for me; Harrison is now, by far, my favorite author. I agree that a lot of the plot elements occur early but the plot is secondary to how it affects Burkett. If some of those elements occurred later, we couldn't see how fully they integrate themselves into his life and perception of life. I' [...]

    9. Bookmarks Magazine on said:

      "True North," says the Boston Globe, "has its moments," which sums up general reaction to this novel. Almost everyone found something to like, be it the passionate narration or the novel's strong sense of place. However, most reviewers also found serious flaws. While some praised Harrison's writing, a few pointed out its sloppiness. And nearly all were frustrated with the novel's structure, complaining that Harrison reveals key events too early and allows the story to founder as Burkett painstak [...]

    10. Brian on said:

      "My father had closed the windows to the world and I was spending my life struggling to open them." So goes the story of David Burkett, a U.P. native struggling to come to terms with his family's history, his father's perverted transgressions, and his own place in the big picture.True North begins with a three-quarters page italicized prologue that feels right away like an (the?) ending. Occurring in the dawn hours after an awful act of violence, the short scene is sad, disturbing, and quite pos [...]

    11. Stefani on said:

      As of late, I've been noticing a strange sight in NYC—the appearance of many bushily-bearded men, clad in woolen plaid lumberjack shirts, their pants held up by suspenders as they saunter through the urban wilderness that is Brooklyn waiting to fell a tree or, perhaps, to whittle a trinket for a lovely lady, should the mood strike them. They can often be found in the local watering hole that specializes in artisanal beers or attempting to start a campfire in the park while simultaneously being [...]

    12. Joseph D'Lacey on said:

      I decided not to read past p50. Clearly, many readers have enjoyed True North but I found the prose flabby, the story meandering and the protagonist bland.Grove/Atlantic should take responsibility for the poor copy editing. In addition, pruning 30% of the text would enhance the pace.Wish I could have enjoyed it more.

    13. Linda Robinson on said:

      "Making money is never very pretty." David Burkett's father said, who as near as I can make out never made the money he spends lasciviously. He inherited it. David Burkett inherited the guilt that goes along with pater familias scarring the land on both sides of his ancestry. I thought this was a new Harrison novel, finding it on the new book shelf, but it was published in 2004, so I am a little relieved to offload some of the machismo rife in the book. Harrison is older now, and a little more m [...]

    14. Paul on said:

      Another fantastic, meditative book from probably my favorite living writer. The novel begins with a crazy italicized intro, then launches into the story of a young boy's quest to make sense of his crazy family. The first hundred-fifty pages or so are the best, until David, the protagonist, goes off on his own and we get the typical meandering, near-plotless Harrison stuff, aside from David's "project," a purported manuscript about evils of his father/grandfather/etc. It's all great, though David [...]

    15. Dan on said:

      Jim Harrison is one of my favorite writers, but this novel seemed to explore territory that was all too familiar from his other works——not a bad thing, but not a good sign of what's to come as Jim gets into the later innings of his life. This book is about an old-money family in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, sex, food, travel, history, and nature, all of which are familiar elements of Harrison's work. I'll next be reading "Returning To Earth," which is a sequel of sorts to this book and r [...]

    16. Bryn on said:

      A good book by what I hope to be the first of my readings from Harrison. The ending was dissapointing, however upon thinking about it I realized it was this dissapointment that made it so conclusive and really added another aspect to the story overall.There was too much sex in the story, and the authors view on religion was neither bad nor good but rather tossed aside as an after thought which bugged me. Religion is necessary, either the hate or love of God drives most lives- apathy is short liv [...]

    17. itpdx on said:

      The story is told from the point of view of a young "trust fund" man. He is the fourth generation of a family that made a fortune logging and mining the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. His father is unapologetically generationally privileged. This David is driven to fight his way clear of the attitude and cocoon that his father lives and acts in. The father acts badly and gets off with light or little punishment because of his name and money. The protagonist finds a path researching the history of [...]

    18. Kaarin on said:

      I just couldn't relate to this book or to its seeminly self-obsessed main character. I read that Harrison considers Americans obscenely plot-obsessed (or something like that)and for me, the repetition of plot as David moves from place to place in the UP and woman to woman, made finishing it a chore. The only reason I didn't quit was that, being "plot obsessed," I wanted to find out how the ending, which Harrison reveals at the beginning of the book (why?) fit with the story. I will admit that th [...]

    19. Adjustablewrench on said:

      Niiiiiiice. Yup. Grew up in Northern Mi and appreciated the understanding of the the atmosphere (logging / post logging culture). It is part of who you are if you spent time there. You'd hike and see remnants of logging camps, etc. The opening and closing had very different perspectives based on where you were as a reader - clearly the point. Enjoyable.

    20. Lauren Albert on said:

      This didn't quite cohere for me. The character didn't cohere for me either. The relationships between the characters, the obsession of the narrator with his family's past, the ending--none of these quite worked for me (didn't feel "true" somehow). The writing wasn't as good as in Harrison's other books that I've read.

    21. Eric Sutton on said:

      Harrison's voice is one of a rambling, intellectual, American male. But I love it. There's a point to his books, especially his novels, that can be hard to see at first. They have a narrative purpose and central conflict to solve, although as the book goes on, they remain increasingly elusive. In True North, with David Burkett, it's this lofty prospect of recording the history of his family's business, which was basically destroying tens of thousands of acres of virgin timber in the Upper Penins [...]

    22. John Thorndike on said:

      We’re a long way here from the prose of Dalva or A Good Day to Die. Writers evolve, and that’s fine. They decide that commas are overrated, and sometimes they’re right. But I never adjusted to the sluggish push of True North. It felt like a big heavy river moving past its banks, the muddy water swirling downstream, but barely.Sentences like the following, a couple of pages in, got me off to a bad start: “I wasn’t quite eighteen years old when I declared my intentions to Lake Superior o [...]

    23. Kevin on said:

      It's rare that the first page of a book catches me so completely off guard.I'm going soon to visit my friend in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan and she said, "I recommend Jim Harrison's True North for some pre-vacation reading" so of course I picked it up from the library. Not knowing what to expect I just settled on the idea that perhaps it was some vaguely madcap lightweight fiction piece that happened to be set up there and, I don't know, maybe mentioned the city in which she lives or [...]

    24. Ed Dombrowski on said:

      I have read a number of other books by Jim Harrison that I have really enjoyed. This one didn’t do it for me. One of the things that I like about Harrison are his wonderful observations about being human. Usually they are wound into an enjoyable story. When reading some of his other books I feel I read a great story but also read some great insights into human nature. In this book there were still some of a those great insights but they were wrapped in a story I couldn’t care less about. I w [...]

    25. Katrisa on said:

      I thought I'd try a Harrison novel because I enjoyed his poetry, but I had to put this one down. I don't know if I just made an unfortunate choice in this particular book, or if he should just stick to poetry. I got through about a fourth of the book and it never really was that engaging and I got super tired of hearing about everything that aroused the main character. Just on my drive to work this morning here is a short list of things that aroused the main character: a 12 year old girl, a matr [...]

    26. Kate on said:

      I found this really disappointing. I love northern Michigan and had heard that Jim Harrison was a good writer. I could NOT get into this story-not the plot or the characters and for such a scenic place, I had little sense of scenery. I may try some of his other writing, but not soon. Was hoping he would be a new favorite.

    27. Summer on said:

      I struggled through. I could go on about the things I didn't like about this book but the main thing was I could not stand the main character & that's all the book was about. Here's to hoping I enjoy the next novel of his I read.

    28. Joe on said:

      Not without its flaws (dubious structural choices, a cartoonish ending, copy errors), but it reads well on account of my Michigan biases and the gusto for life that drips from Harrison's prose.

    29. Jay on said:

      Very good. I like how complex yet real Harrison makes his main characters.

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