Janie Treeborne lives on an orchard at the edge of Elberta, Alabama, and in time, she has become its keeper. A place where conquistadors once walked, and where the peaches they left behind now grow, Elberta has seen fierce battles, violent storms, and frantic change―and when the town is once again threatened from without, Janie realizes it won’t withstand much more. So she tells the story of its people: of Hugh, her granddaddy, determined to preserve Elberta’s legacy at any cost; of his wife, Maybelle, the postmaster, whose sudden death throws the town into chaos; of her lover, Lee Malone, a black orchardist harvesting from a land where he is less than welcome; of the time when Janie kidnapped her own Hollywood-obsessed aunt and tore the wrong people apart.
As the world closes in on Elberta, Caleb Johnson’s debut novel lifts the veil and offers one last glimpse. Treeborne is a celebration and a reminder: of how the past gets mixed up in thoughts of the future; of how home is a story as much as a place.
"I can’t remember the last time I read a book I wish so much I’d written. Treeborne is beautiful, and mythic in ways I would never have been able to imagine...I can’t say enough about this book."―Daniel Wallace, national bestselling author of Extraordinary Adventures and Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions
“This boy cannot only write with beauty about how things are in the Deep South, he can write with an eerie feel for the way they used to be. I’ve heard a lot of great old editors say that you can’t teach writing, that it’s born. Caleb Johnson can make you believe it.”―Rick Bragg, New York Times bestselling author of My Southern Journey and All Over but the Shoutin'
"Using language rich as mulch, debut author Johnson tells the superb saga of three generations of Treebornes, who live near the town of Elberta in the southern reaches of Alabama... Sentence by loamy sentence, this gifted author digs up corpses and upends trees to create a place laden with magic and memory."-- Publishers Weekly, starred review
CALEB JOHNSON grew up in Arley, Alabama. He graduated from The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and earned an MFA from the University of Wyoming. Treeborne (Picador, June 2018) is his debut novel. Johnson has written for the Southern Foodways Alliance, The Paris Review Daily, and The Bitter Southerner, among other publications. He has received a Jentel Artist Residency and a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship in fiction to the Sewanee Writers' Conference. Currently, Johnson lives with his partner, Irina, and their dog, Hugo, in Philadelphia, where he teaches while working on his next novel.