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Comment: Unabridged MP3 CD has been withdrawn from a library chain; has library stickers and marks of former ownership on cover and disc; shows minor degree of scuffing on disc; includes all art (jacket, liner notes and all inclusions); guaranteed to play like a dream!
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True North Audio CD – Unabridged, April, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

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 painstakingly searches his soul. Harrison has called American readers “grotesquely plot-oriented,” and those who fit this description should avoid his newest novel. But for those who don’t mind a long walk through the woods, there’s True North.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786186895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786186891
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 5 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,426,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Lori Paris on August 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
True North is riveting reading. I must admit I was not familiar with the author, Jim Harrison, until I read a book review in the L.A. Times about True North. The review was so well written, I couldn't wait to buy the book. As soon as I started reading it, I was so pleased to discover a new (to me) author whose writing is so rich and captivating.

I was fascinated with the depiction of this severly dysfunctional family as seen through the eyes of the central character, David Burke. All the characters, whether you like them or not (and there is one you should detest), are multi-dimensional and complex. David grows up with parents who are role models for what not to be, and a fiesty younger sister who turns out to be the most stable and rational member of the entire family. Over a period of decades, we witness David's struggle with his family's legacy, and watch how it shapes not only his romantic relationships, but his sense of right and wrong. David's journey is not an easy one as he searches for the meaning of his own life while trying to reconcile the sins of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. What is it that he is really looking for? Justice or peace? Read this outstanding book and find out.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Matti on August 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Though I can sympathize with them, the reviewers that complain about Harrison's rambling style and lack of focus in True North are unfortunately missing the point of the book. Those that stick with it will be generously rewarded.

This is first and foremost a novel of self-discovery and self-definition. Unfortunately, such journeys are not packaged neatly into a 3:15 song, a 90 minute movie, or 250 page tightly plotted novel (if someone knows the trick of discovering one's self in such a fashion, please post). And that's the poorly-kept secret of this book: a person's journey to find and perhaps save himself is a rambling, chaotic, often incoherent one and it's not going to fit well into our 20th/21st century indoctrinated idea of plot or novel.

In the hands of almost anyone else, such an approach would turn into a plodding, stumbling account of banalities, of burnt breakfasts and waiting in doctor's offices. This is not the case in True North. Harrison uses his wit, poetic training, and incredible clarity of observation to produce a wonderful inside view of David Burkett's struggle to make sense of his own life's story.

For those that couldn't stick with it, I suggest you put down your latest Dan Brown pablum and try True North again, this time with patience.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Jim Harrison is a writer's writer and a reader's writer and quite simply one of the best yarn spinners writing today. TRUE NORTH is a fine work of fiction that not only tells an intensely interesting story, it also exudes some of the more poetic prose and contemplative spiritual psychology that touches an audience of readers longing for books about environmentalism, about contemporary sexuality, about dysfunctional families, and about seeking sanity in a world apparently bent on squashing it.

Briefly, this is the story of David Burkett, born to Robber Barons in the Upper Penisula of Michigan who gained their wealth at the expense of destroying the timber lands which in turn deprived the Native Americans of their space and created a desecration of the land through logging and mining that permanently altered the target of their greed. But David wants revenge on his family's history, a history which includes his immediate family - a mother so lost in pills and alcohol and high society that she is unavailable, a father who is also an alcoholic, a pedophile, and in general a detestable boor who buys his way out of recurring run-ins with the law for raping young girls only to spend and squander the family fortune for his insatiable hedonism, and a sister Cynthia who, though younger than David, is brassy enough to escape this detestable family and run off with a half breed to disgrace the family she loathes. David attempts to avoid his genetic disposition by committing to right wing religion, but eventually fails in that and finds himself lusting after every female he encounters - never finding love, but never really knowing how to love.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased "Returning to Earth" simultaneously after a long absence of Harrison reading. Read "True North" first. "David" is the heir to a family that exploited Michigan's timber and mineral wealth and the novel covers his long effort to write of his family history, which he ultimately self-publishes in a few UP newspapers, but that matters only as one of numerous storylines within. Written from David's self-indulgent and overly critical perspective of his family history, Harrison weaves a compelling and consuming tale of David's dysfunctional family, his wives and lovers, the exploited timberland surrounding Lake Superior, and for good measure David's dog, Carla. Honestly, I read it in two days and called two of my friends who are Harrison fans. Wonderful.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nickolas A. Butler on August 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I'd read some lukewarm reviews of this novel but was encouraged to read it anyway by a chum and fellow Harrison aficionado. "True North" did not disappoint me. The novel meanders, takes its time understanding people and places, and really thinks about the world and our relationship with the world. Many of the less-than-lustrous reviews I had read of "True North" cited all the above reasons as explanations FOR NOT reading this novel, which is ridiculous. If you love the Upper Peninsula, nature, food, sex, relationships - please read this book. It is excellant, and true.
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