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Juniper Tree Burning: A Novel

Long, Goldberry

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ISBN 10: 0743202031 / ISBN 13: 9780743202039
Verlag: Simon & Schuster, Riverside, New Jersey, U.S.A., 2001
Gebraucht Zustand: Fine Hardcover
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0743202031 near Fine Quality, Value, Experience. Media Shipped in New Boxes. Buchnummer des Verkäufers LD8892

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: Juniper Tree Burning: A Novel

Verlag: Simon & Schuster, Riverside, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Erscheinungsdatum: 2001

Einband: Hardcover


Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Near Fine

Auflage: First Edition.

Über diesen Titel


This masterful debut is an inventive, magnetic exploration of identity and memory amidst the vast western landscape: the first novel to capture the unadulterated legacy of the 1960s counterculture as it is lived three decades later. Juniper Tree Burning hates her name. It represents all she despises: her hippie mother, Faith, and meandering father, Ray, who she can't possibly please; her sick baby brother, Sunny Boy Blue, who she can't possibly save; and the raw poverty of her parents' 'back to nature' New Mexican home. Juniper escapes them all, to turn herself into someone new: Jennie. Jennie becomes a fierce, intelligent woman who refuses to be trapped by anything or anyone, even her seemingly perfect new husband can't get too close. Then one night the police call - Sunny has leaped off a Seattle ferry. 'Abducting' her best friend, Jennie flees New Mexico for Seattle, retracing the final steps of her brother, and the same path travelled by generations of her family. Along the way, Jennie confronts the familial tapestry of betrayal and loss, stories she has rejected or embraced as she created her new self. Only by reconsidering this history can Jennie face her anger and grief, her guilt at her brother's suicide, and her own greatest challenge, accepting love.


Juniper Tree Burning is the name Ray and Faith Davis give their infant girl when she's already several months old. Juniper Tree Burning is also the name of Goldberry M. Long's debut, a novel full of images so luminous they have the force and presence of characters: cracked adobe walls, spiders, pianos, overripe apricots, ferns. Looking back, the eponymous narrator concludes that the fierce cry her parents took for assent to her new name was actually a scream of protest: "Out there on the mesa, dazzled by sun and bright sky, they give their daughter the name she tells them she was born for: Juniper Tree Burning. But this is not my name, and this is not my story."

Everything about the name is a mistake from the start. Even the tree her parents intended to celebrate--one that reminds them of the burning bush in the Bible--turns out to be no juniper at all, but a piñon pine. Later, young Juniper rechristens herself in secret: she chooses Jennifer Davis, a normal name for a normal girl. Jennie becomes the strong, fearless woman, the one who shoots pool and manipulates men, who puts herself through school and is going to become a doctor. But always, inside, she's haunted by Juniper the hippie kid, the one who wears clothes from the free box behind the co-op and suffers under the social burden of head lice and an outdoor toilet.

When Jennie's brother Sunny Boy Blue ends his life in the waters of Puget Sound, her precarious grip on normality crumbles. She flees her saintly husband, Chris, kidnaps her best friend, Sarah, and sets out in a junker Ford truck to re-create her sibling's last days--and her own family's flight from the Northwest to New Mexico. Long intersperses this quixotic journey with long, dreamlike scenes from the protagonist's childhood, and in many ways, it's hard not to prefer the latter. The grown-up Jennie is one tough, angry cookie, and she defies our sympathy as stubbornly as Chris's love. But Juniper Tree Burning is not just a book about growing up the child of hippies; it's a book about growing up the child of anyone who meant to do well and didn't. Jennie's story will resonate with anyone who's yearned to run away from an old self and found it trailing behind them--infuriating, embarrassing, infantile, cruel. --Chloe Byrne

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