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Title: THIRTY MILES TO ROSEBUD 232 pp.
Author: Barbara Henning ISBN 13: 9781935402251
Genre: Literary Fiction LOC 2009923618
Release Date: November 15, 2009 $18.00
Cover by Miranda Maher
Thirty Miles to Rosebud is a mystery, a journey of self-discovery, a love story, and a story of bohemian life in the United States in the 70s and 80s. As a young teenager, Katie runs away from her home in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with a boyfriend, a van and little else. She leaves behind her father and the cabin where she grew up, along with visceral memories of her mother and the landscape of her childhood, the dense forests and dark blue of Lake Superior. The novel shifts between rural and urban landscapes—jazz clubs in Detroit, Hari Krishnas in Tompkins Square, Vietnam War vets in a VA hospital, driving through the desert, a makeshift apartment on a rooftop in NYC, underground music clubs in the East Village, and a yoga shala in Mysore, India. All of these stories unfold seamlessly with a lyrical, calm and almost contemplative narrative voice as Katie searches on the road and through memory for a long-lost friend and the roots of her fractured sense of self.
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 Breckinridge
One of Barbara Henning’s great accomplishments is the voice we came to appreciate in You, 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
Barbara Henning is the author of two other novels, You, Me and the Insects and Black Lace (Spuyten Duyvil). Her books of poetry include My Autobiography, Detective Sentences, Love Makes Thinking Dark, Smoking in the Twilight Bar. A collection of prose and poetry, Cities & Memory, is forthcoming from Chax Press in 2010. She teaches creative writing courses in the MFA programs at Long Island University in Brooklyn and for Naropa University in Boulder. A native Detroiter and a long time resident of New York City, she now lives in Tucson, Arizona.