Wednesday, June 06, 2018

What is Caleb Johnson reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Caleb Johnson, author of Treeborne: A Novel.

His entry begins:
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

My soon-to-be wife emigrated from the Soviet Union as a young girl. I decided this would be the year I dived into Russian fiction. I asked her to create a reading list and she started me off the Richard Peaver and Larissa Volokhonsky translation of Anna Karenina. My favorite parts of Anna were the sections with Konstantin Levin, a Russian landowner who's living out his existential crisis in the countryside. Tolstoy really cut loose at the sentence level in these sections and he writes beautifully of the land and people's relationship to it, which is, if...[read on]
About Treeborne, from the publisher:
Janie Treeborne lives on an orchard at the edge of Elberta, Alabama, and in time, she has become its keeper. A place where conquistadors once walked, and where the peaches they left behind now grow, Elberta has seen fierce battles, violent storms, and frantic change—and when the town is once again threatened from without, Janie realizes it won’t withstand much more. So she tells the story of its people: of Hugh, her granddaddy, determined to preserve Elberta’s legacy at any cost; of his wife, Maybelle, the postmaster, whose sudden death throws the town into chaos; of her lover, Lee Malone, a black orchardist harvesting from a land where he is less than welcome; of the time when Janie kidnapped her own Hollywood-obsessed aunt and tore the wrong people apart.

As the world closes in on Elberta, Caleb Johnson’s debut novel lifts the veil and offers one last glimpse. Treeborne is a celebration and a reminder: of how the past gets mixed up in thoughts of the future; of how home is a story as much as a place.
Visit Caleb Johnson's website.

The Page 69 Test: Treeborne.

Writers Read: Caleb Johnson.

--Marshal Zeringue