"For Independence Day: A Story Of The Fireworks That Changed American Thought"
True fact: One year before he built his cabin on Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau accidentally scorched 300 acres of the Concord woods. In Woodsburner, John Pipkin's lyrical debut novel, Pipkin re-creates the events of that day from the perspective of Thoreau and several other Concord residents — an opium-addicted preacher, a pompous bookseller and, in some of the novel's most flat-out beautiful passages, a love-starved Norwegian farmhand — who will see their lives irrevocably changed by the fire.
Pipkin's characters are full of convincing contradictions: His Thoreau, for example, spends the day vacillating between guilt over the accident and defiantly rationalizing his incautious actions. The author has some thoughtful things to say about the notion of American freedom, and the conflagration that serves as Woodsburner's central metaphor allows him to say them in language that is at once vividly precise and richly allusive.
Causes John Pipkin Supports
Trust for Public Land
Writers' League of Texas