The Greenleaf Fires (EBOOK)
The Greenleaf Fires is a novel of renunciation and redemption, the story of a man’s struggle to cut himself away from his father only to be reunited with him through his son. The setting is rural Maine. For years Alcott Greenleaf’s father had used the loss of a leg in an ice house accident as a weapon to extort obedience and servitude. As the story opens, Alcott makes one last desperate attempt to escape the psychic burden of his father’s disability. He paddles quietly down the Sheepscot River, beaching his canoe at regular intervals to set fire to ice houses on the banks, cleansing himself symbolically of what has kept him in thrall.
But he is not relieved of his bonds. Others come to depend on him, and it is not until the outbreak of another fire that Greenleaf can finally see that accepting one’s ties to others is part of one’s humanity.
The singular flavor of speech, the harshness of life in a demanding landscape, the landscape itself, all become vividly alive to contribute to the authenticity of this powerful story. John Gould has written a novel of rare quality and spirit.
First published in 1978 by Charles Scribner’s Sons, The Greenleaf Fires is being re-released on e-book, available from amazon.com.
“Moods and relationships often recalling Faulkner in their complexity and dark sexuality make this a disturbing and compelling novel.” Publishers Weekly
“Beautifully rendered accounts of the geography/history of the local countryside and of the 1944 Guam campaign against the Japanese add to the novel’s dark texture … an impressive first novel.” Library Journal
“… an impressive debut; for most readers, one John Gould novel will not suffice.” Alan Cheuse, New York Times Book Review