Seeds: One Man's Serendipitous Journey to Find the Trees That Inspired Famous American Writers from Faulkner to Kerouac, Welty to Wharton

Richard Horan. Harper Perennial, $14.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-186168-0
"My cockamamie scheme...I would go around the country collecting tree seeds at the homes of famous people I admired, grow them into saplings, then buy a cheap parcel of land and plant them there." So begins Horan's whimsical journey, which quickly evolves into the focus for a new book (after the novel Goose Music). Though the repetitive, sometimes sweeping pattern of traveling, researching, gathering, and briefly recounting tidbits may not awaken new interest in the chosen authors' lives, and though tepid reflections ("Edith Wharton was filthy rich, and she sure could write one hell of a story"; "Henry Miller was the writer who...saw the truth of life") don't elucidate why particular icons have influenced Horan, his enthusiasm propels the book. Read as the tale of an amateur naturalist's road trip rather than as a curious, profound homage to literary giants, Seeds carefully reminds us of lands—and homes—that are worth preserving, provoking questions of legacy. Trees become lodestones for memory, charged with history and grandeur, and Horan concludes his project in a particularly inspiring way, emphasizing how the merest "seed" of an idea can flourish with perseverance. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-207915-2
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