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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.
met and talked at length to a red-haired busgirl who wanted to be a writer. She had pale skin, the grace of a ballerina, a high clear voice, and the vivid speech of a precocious or junior Vernice. She asked if I wanted to get together after she finished work and I became excited at my good luck, but then she said she would call her father and tell him not to pick her up if I would give her a ride home. I asked, “You don’t drive?” and she admitted she wasn’t old enough to get a license which meant
from my ceaseless winter walks but then my hardships were those of choice. On the drive to Grand Marais it occurred to me that you were not likely to feel compassion when you had become totally self-sunken. I was obsessed with my family’s crimes against nature, less so with the human victims of logging and mining. Maybe the survivors had to mythologize their work to make the past bearable. The implicit ideal of my great-grandfather and grandfather would be to get people to work for nothing as in
in the twilight. I was no longer pissed at her critique. She was the pro and I was the hubris-soaked unenlightened amateur. We bathed in the cool river laughing at nothing in particular with Carla drifting downstream looking back at us, quizzically unused to laughter in her owner. Vernice got out on the grassy bank and I stood in the river looking up at her nudeness then flicked a mosquito off her ass leaving a little blood smear. I got out of the river and sat on a small deck I had built, the
were headed over to Iron Mountain to do curb construction for a month or so. Glenn’s dad, named Herb, was a little leery of me because of our difference in background but said jokingly he was a shovel man short of a full crew if I needed work. Glenn ticked off the rivers we could fish in the evenings. I found myself saying that I would know by first thing in the morning if that was soon enough. Herb gave me the number of the tourist cabin in Iron Mountain and off they went. I continued on to the
brother in one body when I wanted to be the holy younger brother Alyosha. I was downcast but then she announced that we could fool around and within a few minutes I was nude and she was down to her panties which she said would stay on until she “tied the knot,” a peculiar idiom for marriage. I wasn’t prepared for the nudeness of her nudity. It was almost too much of a good thing, as they say, and compared to Laurie, Polly was soft and lush and with breasts large enough to be embarrassing to her.