"Like much of author Jim Harrison's work, True North is set in Michigan's dangerous but beautiful Upper Peninsula, a landscape that is sharply portrayed by the narrator, whose family has long made money by despoiling Michigan's forests. Though he can't quite stand up to his abusive father directly, David Burkett researches his ancestors' brutality in an attempt to redress their environmental and emotional crimes. Over the next 20 years we are treated to his attempts at maturity, his failed relationships, and to the cold beauty of his camping trips in the woods. At times bleak, this novel isn't for everyone, but it offers a peek at Harrison's "fierce passion and dark poetry" (Kirkus Reviews). Fans will want to keep an eye out for his upcoming book, Brown Dog, which is due later in the year." July 2013 Fiction A to Z newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=655619
First novelist Skibsrud takes a poignant look at family, focusing mainly on Napoleon Haskell, his adult daughter, and Henry, father to a young man Napoleon served with in Vietnam. These three live in Henry's house in Canada as a sort of makeshift family. When Napoleon's daughter first comes to live with him and Henry after a relationship ends badly, she finds out much more about the father she hardly knew while growing up. And she begins to understand who Henry is and why he has a connection to her own family. She also learns that her father's alcoholism is much more progressed than she'd originally thought. And she begins to figure out the identity of the mysterious Owen, Henry's son, and why Henry feels indebted to her father because of him. With flashbacks to Vietnam and heartfelt recollections of the daughter's own childhood, the narrative shows Napoleon slowly letting his daughter in on deep secrets of his life. VERDICT A quick and satisfying read; recommended for most public libraries and reading groups that have an interest in books about familial relationships.-Leann Restaino, Girard, OH (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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