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The Trees
The Trees

The Trees

Rediscovered Classics

FICTION

320 Pages, 5.25 x 7.75

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $18.99 (US $18.99) (CA $25.99)

Publication Date: November 2017

ISBN 9781613737415

Rights: WOR X BCOM

Chicago Review Press (Nov 2017)

Price: $18.99
 
 

Overview

The Awakening Land trilogy traces the transformation of a middle-American landscape from wilderness to farmland to the site of modern industrial civilization, all in the lifetime of one character. The trilogy earned author Conrad Richter immense acclaim, ranking him with the greatest of American mid-century novelists. It includes The Trees (1940), The Fields (1946), and The Town (1950) and follows the varied fortunes of Sayward Luckett and her family in southeastern Ohio.The Trees is the story of an American family in the wilderness—a family that "followed the woods as some families follow the sea." The time is the end of the eighteenth century, the wilderness is the land west of the Alleghenies and north of the Ohio River. But principally, The Trees is the story of a girl named Sayward, eldest daughter of Worth and Jary Luckett, raised in the forest far from the rest of humankind, yet growing to realize that the way of the hunter must cede to the way of the tiller of soil.

Reviews

"Of its kind—and the kind is rare—the book is perfect. No detail is out of place, no word jars, no episode seems forced or ill-considered. Language, incident, character, mood—the writer's imagination has fused and united them all. The result is whole and complete, a serene, beautiful, and moving book." —Dorothy Greenwald, Boston Transcript

"[Richter] knows the sights and sounds and smells of the time and place: the noise of an Indian cutting shellbark to mend his canoe; the feel of lingering heat in a river rock after the sun has set... The Trees is an authentic portrait of pioneer life, written with strength and beauty." —Horace Reynolds, Christian Science Monitor

"In his new novel, The Trees, Conrad Richter, author of The Sea of Grass, has written a moving story of the beginning of the American trek to the west at the close of the eighteenth century. So vivid is his description of the land, so real his characters and their problems, that one forgets he is painting a picture of an early American epic." —Rose Feld, New York Times

"It's a period piece, with no great pretensions to exciting story-telling, but craftily done, with all the detail convincing and quite without the usual pioneer-hero sentimentality. A great improvement, may I say, on Mr. Richter's The Sea of Grass." —New Yorker 

"The fact that The Trees is not a historical novel does not preclude its historical importance, but the reader's first interest is in [the] hardy, illiterate pioneer family. By relating the story and presenting the scene consistently from their point of view, the author achieves a unity and tightness that both strengthen and simplify the novel. Whatever the wider interest and significance of the book, the author is content to keep it entirely fiction and resists all temptation to press Davy Crockett or Daniel Boone into the story. He needs no such proper nouns to persuade us of the veracity of his portrait: we close the book convinced that this is how the woodsmen in the great forests of the Northwest Territory really lived." —R. A. Cordell, Saturday Review of Literature

"In The Trees . . . there is research, sincerity, imagination and beauty of writing. It is escape literature of a high-class sort. . .  The forest itself is the principal agent in this book. It takes on an overpowering life. Every activity is surrounded by and saturated in its influence, and this feeling of a gigantic elemental force is achieved without any cheap mystical effects. The story is told in a reproduction of the actual speech of early settlers, and though it rings sentimentally now and then, it is on the whole fresh, vigorous and salted with vivid natural imagery." —Rosamond Lehmann, Spectator

"Mr. Richter has reproduced the quality and the speech of these people so well that a thousand years from now, one may read his books and know exactly what these people were like and what it was like to have lived in an era when within three or four generations a frontier wilderness turned into one of the great industrial areas of the earth." —Louis Bromfield

"There are in the literature of the world few works of historical fiction that make the reader feel that the writer must have been a witness to what he describes; he was actually there and came back—a transmigrated soul—to tell a story. The Awakening Land is such a work . . . it would be a great novel in any literature." —Isaac Bashevis Singer

Author Biography

Before becoming one of America's greatest novelists, Conrad Richter (1890–1968) worked driving a wagon over the mountains of Pennsylvania, in a machine shop, in a small-town bank, on a farm, in his own timber business, and reporting for newspapers, among other jobs. A dogged researcher, he wrote fifteen novels, most of them set on the American frontier, including The Light in the Forest and The Sea of Grass, as well as numerous short stories. His novels won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and many other accolades. David McCullough is the author of The Wright Brothers, John Adams, 1776, and many other books of American history and biography.