T R E E S   O F   H E A V E N
E. P. Dutton & Co., New York City, New York, 1940. 340 pp.
With decorations by Woodi Ishmael
  Trees of Heaven  
  Jesse Stuart made a couple of attempts to write  his first published novel,  Trees of Heaven, before he succeeded: “It was the third time I'd tried to write this book but now words came to me. This novel was in my head. It fell onto the paper as fast as I use my typewriter” (Richardson, Jesse, 282-283). He finished the 143,000-word manuscript in 75 days. The story centers around two men, old Anse Bushman and Boliver Tussie, both of whom desired to own the same piece of land, the Sexton Land Tract, where some of Tussie’s kin-folk were buried in a small family plot beneath a beautiful stand of trees. The two men were at loggerheads over the land, and then Anse’s son and Tussie’s daughter fell in love...

Author Wade Hall, in the forward to the second edition published in 1980 (copy in the Jesse Stuart Collection), wrote that Jesse’s first novel was written with a “spare, sinewy prose that can be as direct as a twelve-gage shot gun or as lyrical as August corn tassels blowing in the warm wind” (page 10).


  Special Collection logo