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Woodsburner (Paperback)

Author:  John Pipkin
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Woodsburner Pipkin, John 1 of 1
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FORMAT: Paperback
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Learn more about Woodsburner:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0307455327
ISBN-13: 9780307455321
Sku: 212752858
Publish Date: 5/4/2010
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 8.5H x 5.25L x 0.75T
Pages:  365
See more in Literary
*Author: Pipkin, John *Publication Date: 2010/05/04 *Number of Pages: 365 *Binding Type: Paperback *Language: English *Depth: 0.75 *Width: 5.25 *Height: 8.50
From the Publisher:
Set against the backdrop of a devastating forest fire that Henry David Thoreau accidentally set in 1844, John Pipkin's novel brilliantly illuminates the mind of the young philosopher at a formative moment in his life and in the life of the young nation.

The Thoreau of Woodsburner is a lost soul, resigned to a career designing pencils for his father's factory while dreaming of better things. On the day of the fire, his path crosses those of three very different people, each of whom also harbors a secret dream. Oddmund Hus, a shy Norwegian farmhand, pines for the wife of his brutal employer. Eliot Calvert, a prosperous bookseller, is also a hilariously inept aspiring playwright. Caleb Dowdy preaches fire and brimstone to his followers through an opium haze. Each of their lives, like Thoreau's, will be changed forever by the fire.
This ambitious debut novel from John Pipkin captures a nearly forgotten unfortunate incident from the life of prominent naturalist Henry David Thoreau. In 1844, a year before he built his famous cabin on Walden Pond, the nature-worshipping Thoreau accidentally started a forest fire that consumed more than 300 acres of the Concord woods. Pipkin follows the path of the blaze through the thoughts of several different characters in the area, most prominently Thoreau himself, whose attention progresses from trying to somehow quell the fire to chastising his unforgivable ignorance to justifying the disaster as a natural event. Pipkin theorizes that this catastrophe played an integral role in Thoreau's decision to move to the woods, and this compelling novel casts an illuminating glow on his future masterpiece, WALDEN.


"[Pipkin's characters] provide a fascinating impression of the nation when it was still young and swelling and struggling to define itself....[He] allows them to brush up against each other in the most subtle and ingenious ways." - Ron Charles 04/22/2009

"The author succeeds brilliantly in portraying a young country struggling to shape its idealistic energies into something concrete and enduring....[WOODSBURNER is a] superb historical fiction as well as a complex and provocative novel of ideas--Pulitzer Prize material." (starred review) 04/15/2009

"Pipkin's characters are full of convincing contradictions...The author has some thoughtful things to say about the notion of American freedom, and the conflagration that serves as WOODSBURNER's central metaphor allows him to say them in language that is at once vividly precise and richly allusive." - Glen Weldon 05/26/2009

"A little-explored event in the life of Henry David Thoreau assumes epic proportions in John Pipkin's wonderfully grandiose debut novel....Pipkin's portrait of a nation in flux is energetic and optimistic. It's also a remarkably constructed piece of fiction - vibrant, solidly plotted and lyrically yet efficiently composed - and should be a contender for the year's important literary awards." - Eric Liebetrau 07/31/2009

Product Attributes

Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0365
Product attributePublisher:   Anchor Books
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