Publisher : BlazeVOX Books (Interview)
Publication Date : July 20, 2009
ISBN : 9781935402251
Category : Novel, Fiction
Product Dimensions : 5.4 x 8.1 inches
Paperback : 234 pages
Cover Art : Miranda Maher
“THIRTY MILES TO ROSEBUD depicts a series of imploding families and fast interstates. Barbara Henning’s landscapes—a rust-belt childhood, a nearly forgotten East Village Bohemia and the arid Southwest streaked with the setting sun—are populated by runaways, lost loves and lifelong betrayals. In this remarkable novel, Henning’s eye for detail and her emotional honesty enables the past to loom in the rear-view mirror long after the car has sped by”—Donald Breckenridge.
This On the Road story zig zags the America grain, a rebellious woman’s experience, and the consequences of the Vietnam era. Barbara Henning’s clean, stark realism rejoices and laments the left and the lost, what can and can’t be found in time and mind. –Gloria Frym
This remarkable, gracefully muscular, novel pays homage to being, writing, attending, loving. Henning’s low key, precise, observances are downright addictive in their power to hold, carry and reward. –Lynn Crawford
One of Barbara Henning’s great accomplishments is the voice we came to appreciate in You, and Me, and The Insects. It presents her world with a candor both companionable and profound, both disengaged and intimate. She has no agenda but to tell her own story, which is the story physical, emotional, and spiritual, of her generation. Wisdom enters her telling as easily as a deer crosses a road. And many deer do, because this is a book in line with Celine’s crazed Castle To Castle, Douglas Woolf’s Wall to Wall, Kerouac’s romantic On The Road, Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Thirty Miles to Rosebud stands with all of them as one of the great memoir road novels of our time. —Steve Katz
“Henning’s text makes loops through moments in Detroit and New York City, Southeast and South Asia, Wisconsin on into the U.S. Southwest, and the bodies and conversations of men and women in each loop. Her snapshot prose, however, best articulates that which cannot be captured by the drive-through diversion, or lingering hope and division, which may even bring it to life, and which we all know far too well unless we are very young Katie – the beauty and fragility of experience, the web of imaginary ties that may turn out, in fact, to be the only ones we know we can count on, and the fact that our shapes coexist in something as mild and ephemeral as the desire that a child be born safely, the slight overlap of a tooth. Review at Paradigm Shift by Jo Anne Fordham
`Thirty Miles to Rosebud’ was a true pleasure. This is the first of Barbara Henning’s work I have read (and it won’t be the last). Usually I take my time. Not with this book. It pulled me in and forced me to read it virtually in one sitting and then all over again. Enthralling, captivating and thoroughly enjoyable, ’30 Miles to Rosebud’ really fired me up. The last time that happened in such an exciting way was with Cormac McCarthy’s “All the Pretty Horses”. One of my favorite writers is Annie Proulx. I now would put Barbara Henning right next to her in terms of sheer muscle as a writer, although both have their own unique style.
It is unquestionably one of my favorite books of recent times.
Henning is a stunning and brilliant writer. It is not really fair to compare her to other writers, because she has a natural, poignant style of her own that is at once deeply personal and richly descriptive and poetic. She evokes vivid imagery of scenery and nature, small towns and travel. Her personal introspective is filled with philosophical wisdoms of a generation that confronted the status quo and went on a quest for enlightenment–whatever that ended up being. We follow the heroine, Katie, as she journeys through life and wanders the land; along the way her intricate and interesting life unfolds. It’s all here: the Vietnam experience, the counterculture of drugs and attempts at personal and social liberation, social-change and the embracing of Eastern religion and practices–all of which seem so commonplace and almost ordinary today, but were so revolutionary and upsetting to society at the time. Katie’s story unfolds as an individualistic tale of emancipation, of breaking away from societal norms and the role of women. She reveals herself as a free-spirited soul, someone at once lost and still always grounded, someone in whom many readers will see reflections of their own experience, someone to relate to in a unique and personal way. It is very much a “boomer” story– set against a place and time of rebellion and “our time”–with all it joys and fallacies, it’s hopes and dreams and tragic disappointments and errors. This book continues where the great literature of the Beat and hippie generation left off. Barbara Henning should emerge soon as one of the great writers of our time. All she needs is a little luck…maybe a movie deal? Can someone please send this book to Oprah?
Review by Frank Matheis on Amazon
A story of young love and the ensuing years of self-discovery in the 70’s and 80’s, Barbara Henning’s THIRTY MILES TO ROSEBUD is a narrative laid down in compelling layers, the scenes woven through a mostly lifetime search for an adolescent friend. The architecture of the book is formed of intra-chapter shiftings, transitions between Katie’s (the protagonist-author) runaway years, and her mature years. Plenty of harsh episodes blend into the sweet episodes of this memoir-novel written in a fine voice of first-person perspective.
Shifting between rural and urban landscapes (Michigan’s UP, NYC, Mysore, India, New Mexico and Arizona), Katie’s search for her childhood friend revolves around a box of old photos and a journal of once-a-year entries by her friend’s mother. The contents of the box are the impetus which drives Katie’s quest for this phantom she pursues; and once found, a numbing encounter of betrayal awaits her delivery of the box.
Henning’s introspective musings are salted with the deep involvements that come from life’s unexpected engagements; her yoga teacher in Mysore, Harihara, supplies the background voice throughout her later years. “The truth of our existence seems to overshadow all of our emotional maneuvers” is a revelation she shares as the narration winds down. As Katie advances in the years sliding by, her spiritual practice of yoga and her passion for photographing the ordinary things in unusual ways moves her into a rare peace with herself. She does move back and forth between her desire for a man’s love in her life, and the happiness found in her solitary tranquilities. But this seeming tension is absorbed as she finds her satisfaction in the final moment of a morning desert epiphany. Review by Matt Hill on Amazon