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Evergreen: A novel
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2014
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Description
From the celebrated author of The Bird Sisters, a gorgeously rendered and emotionally charged novel that spans generations, telling the story of two siblings, raised apart, attempting to share a life.

It is 1938 when Eveline, a young bride, follows her husband into the wilderness of Minnesota. Though their cabin is rundown, they have a river full of fish, a garden out back, and a new baby boy named Hux. But when Emil leaves to take care of his sick father, the unthinkable happens: a stranger arrives, and Eveline becomes pregnant. She gives the child away, and while Hux grows up hunting and fishing in the woods with his parents, his sister, Naamah, is raised an orphan. Years later, haunted by the knowledge of this forsaken girl, Hux decides to find his sister and bring her home to the cabin. But Naamah, even wilder than the wilderness that surrounds them, may make it impossible for Hux to ever tame her, to ever make up for all that she, and they, have lost. Set before a backdrop of vanishing forest, this is a luminous novel of love, regret, and hope.


This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
07/15/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385351003
ASIN:
B00HXYKYSO
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Rebecca Rasmussen. (2014). Evergreen: A novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Rebecca Rasmussen. 2014. Evergreen: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Rebecca Rasmussen, Evergreen: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Rebecca Rasmussen. Evergreen: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: REBECCA RASMUSSEN is the author of the novel The Bird Sisters. Her stories have appeared in or won prizes from TriQuarterly, Narrative Magazine, Glimmer Train, The Mid-American Review, among other journals. She was born and raised in the Midwest. Currently, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter and teaches English part-time at UCLA.
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fullDescription
From the celebrated author of The Bird Sisters, a gorgeously rendered and emotionally charged novel that spans generations, telling the story of two siblings, raised apart, attempting to share a life.

It is 1938 when Eveline, a young bride, follows her husband into the wilderness of Minnesota. Though their cabin is rundown, they have a river full of fish, a garden out back, and a new baby boy named Hux. But when Emil leaves to take care of his sick father, the unthinkable happens: a stranger arrives, and Eveline becomes pregnant. She gives the child away, and while Hux grows up hunting and fishing in the woods with his parents, his sister, Naamah, is raised an orphan. Years later, haunted by the knowledge of this forsaken girl, Hux decides to find his sister and bring her home to the cabin. But Naamah, even wilder than the wilderness that surrounds them, may make it impossible for Hux to ever tame her, to ever make up for all that she, and they, have lost. Set before a backdrop of vanishing forest, this is a luminous novel of love, regret, and hope.


This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Trisha Ping, Bookpage
      • content: "A fairy tale-like chronicle of how one moment's pain can echo through generations . . . Rasmussen was born and raised in the Midwest, and her descriptions of the Minnesota wilderness are poetic in their spare beauty. Nature has an almost mystical draw for the characters in Evergreen, most of whom look to it as a refuge rather than something to conquer . . . With its quiet beauty, deep compassion and strong emotional pull, Evergreen cements Rasmussen's reputation as one of our most talented new writers."
      • premium: False
      • source: Amy Goetzman, MinnPost
      • content: "A sense of place and a curiosity about the hidden nature of these past lives spurred Rasmussen to write something different from the sort of stylish, contemporary short stories her classmates were writing at the University of Massachusetts . . . [She] explores the notion of rescue across four generations, as a family beset with troubles hangs on to old ways of living . . . The woods are beautiful, fruitful and nurturing, and the characters are just at home in this landscape as Rasmussen has been in her own past."
      • premium: False
      • source: Jeanne Kolker, Wisconsin State Journal Review
      • content: "Rasmussen, with a deft touch, incites wave after wave of tension in a story that never allows the reader to forget just how much strength lies in the female spirit . . . Reminiscent of Bonnie Jo Campbell and Marilynne Robinson, Evergreenis grounded firmly in place. Rasmussen's characters, rather than mourn or pursue acceptance, crash through the narrative, noisily trying to make sense of their severed bonds and broken hearts . . . Evergreen is a sensitive exploration of love, a novel that proves that Rasmussen's literary star continues to rise in a way that is anything but quiet."
      • premium: False
      • source: Margaret Quamme, The Columbus Dispatch
      • content: "Evergreen is set in the austere landscape of northern Minnesota, where the forests and lakes have a beauty that reveals itself only gradually, and where that beauty is matched by the twin dangers of isolation and cold . . . a stark book, with flashes of human kindness held in balance by moments, or years, of scarring violence . . . Rasmussen doesn't shy from depicting villainy: Two of her characters are sociopaths, and their impact on the others careens through the years.
        At the same time, and without sentimentality, she allows for the healing power of time and nature."
      • premium: False
      • source: Sarah Johnson, Booklist
      • content: "Rasmussen has been steadily crafting a unique brand of Midwestern literature that combines offbeat characters and timeless rhythms reminiscent of folk tales with touching story lines about the pain and hard-won joys of real life. . . She shows her strong affection for the picturesque rural setting of yesteryear . . . In this character-driven saga of friendship and the thorny bonds of family, Rasmussen writes with wisdom and compassion about the people and places that shape us, for better or worse."
      • premium: False
      • source: Chris Bohjalian, author of The Sandcastle Girls and Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands
      • content: "Evergreen has the power of fable and the wonderful, idiosyncratic precision of memoir. A deeply moving novel of mothers and daughters -- and mothers and sons -- and the ties that bind."
      • premium: False
      • source: Christina Baker Kline, bestselling author of Orphan Train
      • content: "In luminous, evocative prose, Rebecca Rasmussen weaves a large-hearted story of resilience, hope and forgiveness deep in the wilds of Minnesota. Evergreen traces the gifts and burdens each generation passes on to the next, intentionally or not, and the flinty beauty that can be found in even the most hardscrabble circumstances."
      • premium: False
      • source: Robin Black, author of If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This
      • content: "Evergreen reads like a brilliant collaboration between a novelist and a naturalist. Rebecca Rasmussen's stunning eye for detail is perfectly matched by her understanding of how lives turn in an instant, decisions shape distant generations, and sometimes, if we're fortunate, loyalties survive to save us against all odds. Steadily beautiful, occasionally brutal, Evergreen is always vivid, always compelling, always ringing with truth."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        May 5, 2014
        Evergreen is a small pocket of habitable forestland in rural Minnesota, where, in 1938, giddy newlyweds Eveline and Emil start a life together. Their riverside cabin is stubbornly removed from the nearest town of Yellow Falls, with its electricity and grocery stores. Soon a baby is on the way, and their marriage unfolds, almost too sweetly. But Rasmussen (The Bird Sisters) has a knack for destabilizing her characters as soon as she’s got them settled. Emil heads home to his native Germany, and his father’s deathbed, with World War II on the horizon. Eveline, nursing an infant, refuses to stay with her parents but, instead, emulates Lulu, her neighbor across the river, who hunts, curses, and stomps around in a dusty coat of animal pelts. Eveline learns empowering survival skills, but they do little to protect her from a stranger who appears one night and rapes her, leaving her pregnant. Mothers, daughters, and granddaughters struggle with abandonment, physical violation, and illness in this story. Rasmussen does not shy away from evil characters—rapists, child abusers—but her most unnerving character is Eveline’s son, Hux. Without an ill-intentioned bone in his body, he makes the women look comparatively unhinged and, at times, selfish. Evergreen is serene, but not safe. If Rasmussen’s characters contained such subtleties and contradictions, the novel would be more realistic. And yet, Rasumssen makes her point about the indelibility of trauma and the impossibility of avoiding heartbreak.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        July 1, 2014
        A malign stranger's visit to a remote Minnesota log cabin in the 1930s will cast long shadows over a family in a fatalistic second novel.After her quirky debut, Rasmussen (The Bird Sisters, 2011) returns to the subject of siblings, this time via a fairy tale-flavored three-generation family portrait set in a forest wilderness. Evergreen is the tiny riverside community to which Eveline LeMay travels in 1938 to join her new husband, German immigrant and taxidermist Emil. Arriving dreamily in a rudderless boat, Eveline disembarks into a life of rural simplicity and hard labor, wrapped in the sweetness of a loving marriage. Soon after a son, Hux, is born, however, Emil is called back to Germany, to his father's deathbed. The year being 1939, his return to Eveline will not be problem-free. Opting to stay on the land instead of returning to her own parents during Emil's absence, Eveline discovers strength and local friendship but also suffers a traumatic rape which leads to the birth of a daughter, Naamah, whom Eveline reluctantly decides to abandon at the door of Hopewell, a Catholic orphanage. Naamah's cruel treatment at the hands of Sister Cordelia, the crazed nun in charge at Hopewell, leaves ineradicable scars on the child's psyche; although she escapes at age 14, her behavior-even after Hux finds and rescues her, years later-is proof of deep-rooted damage. Rasmussen's devoted storytelling lends grace to the proceedings, but there's a sense of sketchiness, both in the story and the cast of one-note characters whose problems are largely wiped away in an overwhelmingly sweet conclusion.The delicate inventiveness that marked this author's first novel is less apparent in her sentimental second.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 1, 2014

        In her sophomore novel, Rasmussen (The Bird Sisters) writes of characters secluded from society, primarily by choice. Spanning roughly 35 years, the story begins with pregnant Evaline arriving at the northern Minnesota cabin of her new husband, Emil. The couple and their only neighbors, Lulu and Reddy, subsist primarily by hunting, trapping, and fishing. A tragic series of events leads Evaline to leave her second child at an orphanage run by a sadistic nun. Namaah is never able to overcome fully the damage done to her there, though the narrative holds out some hope of her eventually healing. VERDICT With its gloomy orphanage containing horrors out of Dickens and characters with a nearly mythical connection to the natural world, this novel has a touch of the gothic. Though most of her characters are deeply wounded in some way, Rasmussen shows great compassion for them all, even the almost irredeemable Sister Cordelia. Throughout is a theme of a need for human connection and interdependence, even among people who choose to live apart.--Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        May 1, 2014
        Rasmussen has been steadily crafting a unique brand of midwestern literature that combines offbeat characters and timeless rhythms reminiscent of folk tales with touching story lines about the pain and hard-won joys of real life. As with her debut, The Bird Sisters (2011), in her new book, she shows her strong affection for the picturesque rural settings of yesteryear. In 1938, Eveline Sturm joins her German-born husband, Emil, in the northern Minnesota backwoods. Their isolated cabin is beyond rustic, and her only reading material is Emil's taxidermy manuals, yet she decides to remain alone with their baby son, Hux, when Emil returns to Germany to care for his father. Years later, Eveline's daughter, Naamah, the product of a traumatic rape, grows up amid cruelty in a Catholic orphanage. After reuniting with his half sister as an adult, Hux tries to help the beautiful, damaged Naamah recapture her lost childhood. In this character-driven saga of friendship and the thorny bonds of family, Rasmussen writes with wisdom and compassion about the people and places that shape us, for better and worse.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
From the celebrated author of The Bird Sisters, a gorgeously rendered and emotionally charged novel that spans generations, telling the story of two siblings, raised apart, attempting to share a life.

It is 1938 when Eveline, a young bride, follows her husband into the wilderness of Minnesota. Though their cabin is rundown, they have a river full of fish, a garden out back, and a new baby boy named Hux. But when Emil leaves to take care of his sick father, the unthinkable happens: a stranger arrives, and Eveline becomes pregnant. She gives the child away, and while Hux grows up hunting and fishing in the woods with his parents, his sister, Naamah, is raised an orphan. Years later, haunted by the knowledge of this forsaken girl, Hux decides to find his sister and bring her home to the cabin. But Naamah, even wilder than the wilderness that surrounds them, may make it impossible for Hux to ever tame her, to ever make up for all that she, and they, have lost....
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