Praise for Treeborne

“Caleb Johnson is as much a prophet of his place and time as was Larry Brown of north Mississippi, as Cormac McCarthy of his native Knoxville, Tennessee, Márquez of his homegrown fictional Macondo. He is ‘Treeborne.’ This is a novel born of a deep, affectionate, and wise knowledge of a place and its people, its history, and its rich and complicated wildness. And its innate tendency to recognize and heighten the mysterious and strange in the ordinary, everyday. He manipulates and maneuvers narrative masterfully.”—Brad Watson, author of Miss Jane

"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

"Using language rich as mulch, debut author Johnson tells the superb saga of three generations of Treebornes... 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 and editor's pick

"In his debut novel, Johnson has conjured a stunning account of the Treeborne family of Elberta, Alabama, creating an immersive sense of both time and place... Majestic in scope, jam-packed with revelations and a touch of the fantastical, Treeborne is an enthralling story about what binds people together and breaks them apart."Booklist, starred review

"Johnson's gem of a novel tells of a place and its people so vivid and real that readers won't want their stories to end."Library Journal, starred review

"Every now and again a powerful new voice bursts into song and begins to sing stories we can’t do without. Caleb Johnson's is such a voice. The characters and desires of Treeborne will wrap themselves around you tighter than any wild vine. And the setting of Elberta, Alabama will call out to you like a long-lost home. This novel is a gripping, entrancing debut by one whirlwind of a writer."—Alyson Hagy, author of Boleto

“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, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and author of All Over but the Shoutin'

"Treeborne is a remarkable first novel: poetic, funny, and populated by particular, fully alive characters. Caleb Johnson has a wonderful ear for the rhythm and diction of Southern voices. He knows how to light on just the right detail of place, time and person. Watching how the intertwined interests of the land, of the past, and of a family play out makes the novel compelling from start to finish."―Dana Spiotta, author of Innocents and Others and Stone Arabia

Treeborne is an original and fresh piece of fiction. Johnson is no imitator, but he is a fine student of Southern literature, an assimilationist.”The Tuscaloosa News

“Johnson’s writing is delightfully Southern in nature, reminiscent of Harper Lee’s character-driven stories and Faulkner’s engrossing narrative style. However, Johnson sets himself apart with a distinct personal touch that is exemplified in the way he weaves the individual tales of a vast number of characters and settings together into one complex, cohesive story.Deep South Magazine

"A lyrical effusion deeply rooted in place and steeped in quirky characters... Johnson’s prose can soar to poetic heights, though his language is always rooted in the Southern vernacular... A debut Southern novel, like many in that tradition, which is rooted in place, populated by eccentric characters, and filled with a certain amount of gothic weirdness."Kirkus Review

"What a marvel of a novel this is. Treeborne’s sentences are taut, its situations engrossing, its characters absolutely and indelibly engaging. Caleb Johnson’s debut is a deep-dig, history-rich, story-soaked beauty."―Laird Hunt, author of Neverhome

“Johnson’s novel is a hybrid, of sorts, a work clearly adding to a literary family tree whose roots go deep.  Vividly portraying the generations of a particular place and imbuing it with elements of magical realism, Johnson stakes his claim as a writer following in a particular lineage even while uniquely transforming it.  Like Faulkner and Márquez, Johnson creates a fictional place haunted by the past and a foundational patriarchal figure; but while Johnson clearly draws inspiration from these two authors in particular, he also marks his story with elements that are certainly his own.  He fuses Southern Gothic with magical realism all the while marking them both with an interest in religion and the sacred.”The Carolina Quarterly

“These characters, each in their own way, will break your heart. They’re a testament to Johnson, who has created an entire town you can’t help but feel like you’ve been to before, filled with people you can’t help but feel you know.”Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"All in all, Treeborne is a certainly a one of kind story, and readers will have to determine for themselves what to make of this distinctively different and thought provoking southern fiction novel."New York Journal of Books

"In Treeborne, Caleb Johnson spins an artful, intricate web of a place—its rich history and memorable characters caught and held there by stories told and secrets withheld. Suspenseful and immensely satisfying."—Jill McCorkle, New York Times bestselling author of Life After Life

"The richness of the writing is almost unfathomable for a debut. It’s a novel that is as lived-in as a favorite shirt... Johnson’s book is a must read; it will stay with readers long after the ending, much like how the land that bore each of us still dictates who were are and what dreams are destined to live and die."The Alabama Take

"Caleb Johnson's writing makes you yearn for a place that never was. Elberta, Alabama is so vivid, so alive, you can smell the peaches ripening in the orchard."—Daren Wang, author of The Hidden Light of Northern Fires

More Praise From Booksellers

"Treeborne is an achievement. It has the fearlessness of a first novel but it is told with dizzying skill... It's a book that begs to be re-read... There are star-crossed lovers, dreams deferred, shattered glory, a giant catfish in the trunk of a car...oh, just read it!"—Angel, Sunrise Books in High Point, NC

With a tradition that combines family, history, and folklore, Johnson taps into the essence of Southern storytelling in a unique way that stretches the imagination. This book is a work of art, and it should propel him to the forefront of contemporary fiction."—Carl, Fountain Books in Richmond, VA

"Caleb Johnson has a powerful, authentic voice that comes through in Treeborne. The detail from each time period is pitch-perfect, and the story itself is astoundingly original. Johnson's writing embodies both the gritty harshness and gothic beauty that was and still is the rural South."—Emmy, A Capella Books in Atlanta, GA

"Treeborne is the story of southern family written in a truly authentic venacular and set in one of the most beautiful sections of Alabama... I love the celebration of the organic world..." —Rachel, Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA

"This debut feels nothing like a debut—Caleb Johnson's voice is what you come to expect in great Southern storytelling... The best that I have read in a long time."—Julie, Warwick's in La Jolla, CA

“With a surprisingly confident and established voice for a debut author, Caleb Johnson's Treeborne encapsulates those things that make for great southern lit."—Lane, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC

“[A] very strong debut from Caleb Johnson. This is elegant southern writing at its best!” —Laura, The Oxford Exchange in Tampa, FL