Juniper Tree Burning by Goldberry Long
A Novel

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Goldberry Long

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Goldberry Long, a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, has received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship and a James Michener Fellowship. A native New Mexican, she lives in Southern California and Toronto.
 
Published January 1, 2001 by Simon & Schuster. 464 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Juniper Tree Burning

Kirkus Reviews

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Raised in a crumbling adobe hovel in rural New Mexico without a toilet or running water, Juniper is the child of Ray and Faith, back-to-nature hippies who join the cult-like Meeting Way and use Juniper and her younger brother, Sunny Boy Blue, as adversarial proxies in their own troubled marriage.

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The New York Times

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A runner, she confesses that she's the ''clumsy, knock-kneed sort'' and that she only runs at night, ''so no one will see me for a fool, because most people think Jennie's no fool, and it's always smart to keep up a good impression once you've got it going.'' ...

Aug 05 2001 | Read Full Review of Juniper Tree Burning: A Novel

The Guardian

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Juniper Tree Burning by Goldberry Long Simon & Schuster £7.99, pp459 The Broken Places by Susan Perabo Bloomsbury £9.99, pp254 Sex and Genius by Conrad Williams Bloomsbury £10.99, pp311 Sweet Fire by Pat MacEnulty Serpent's Tail £8.99, pp320 With pundits mulling over the literary highlights of th...

Dec 08 2002 | Read Full Review of Juniper Tree Burning: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Jennie, a troubled young woman who has always believed that fate landed her in the wrong place with the wrong people, seeks to answer these questions as she copes with her feelings of responsibility for a brother whose birth circumstances (breech) and general disposition (disturbed) earned him th...

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