Blue Earth [NOOK Book]


Blue Earth is a compelling novel of Minnesota, a land that guards its secrets. Carver Heinz loses both farm and family in the farm crisis of the 1980s. Displaced into urban Minneapolis, he becomes obsessed with Angie, a beautiful child he rescues from a tornado in an encounter he insists they keep silent. Her close friendship with a Dakota Indian boy fuels Carver’s rage and unleashes a series of events that reveal the haunting power of each character's past and of their shared histories, especially the 1862 ...
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Blue Earth

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Blue Earth is a compelling novel of Minnesota, a land that guards its secrets. Carver Heinz loses both farm and family in the farm crisis of the 1980s. Displaced into urban Minneapolis, he becomes obsessed with Angie, a beautiful child he rescues from a tornado in an encounter he insists they keep silent. Her close friendship with a Dakota Indian boy fuels Carver’s rage and unleashes a series of events that reveal the haunting power of each character's past and of their shared histories, especially the 1862 Dakota Conflict and public hanging of 38 Dakota--the largest mass execution in U.S. history.

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From the Reflections of History Series at Modern History Press
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Editorial Reviews

Robert Lowell and His Circle - Kathleen Spivack
"In the great tradition of Willa Cather and Wallace Stegner, Anya Achtenberg writes of the violence, past and present, that shapes the people of the vast American Midwest. Deep and searing, Blue Earth is perhaps one of the best novels of the past decade."
--Kathleen Spivack, author of "With Robert Lowell and His Circle"
Blue Front - Martha Collins
"Achtenberg creates morally complex and culturally diverse characters whose lives are affected by loss, poverty, disease, and war, but whose ultimately redemptive encounters with one another take Blue Earth far beyond its Midwester setting."
--Martha Collins, author of "Blue Front"
Mother Tongue - Demetria Martinez
"Achtenberg's passionate, brilliantly crafted language, combined with her profound ethical imagination, makes Blue Earth one of the most important books to appear at this moment in our history."
--Demetria Martinez, author of "Mother Tongue"
Ruins - Margaret Randall
"We... see our own lives reflected in Blue Earth's dark mirror, even as we learn a tragic history kept from us by those who would forever erase our origins... This is a brilliant novel by one of our truly intuitive and accomplished writers"
--Margaret Randall, author of "Ruins"
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940014982955
  • Publisher: Modern History Press
  • Publication date: 7/21/2012
  • Series: Reflections of America , #10
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 226
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Anya Achtenberg is an award-winning fiction writer and poet. Her publications include the novel "Blue Earth", and autobiographical novella "The Stories of Devil-Girl", both with Modern History Press; and poetry books, "The Stone of Language", published by West End Press after being finalist in five poetry competitions; and "I Know What the Small Girl Knew" (Holy Cow! Press). Her short fiction has received awards from Coppola's Zoetrope: All-Story, New Letters, the Raymond Carver Story Contest, and others.

She is at work on History Artist, a novel centering in a Cambodian woman born of an African American father and Cambodian mother at the moment the U.S. bombing of Cambodia began. This work received a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. She is also writing a book of poetry and short prose, The Matadors at
the Crossing.

Anya teaches creative writing workshops and classes around the country and online with growing international participation, and offers manuscript consultations and coaching for fiction writers, memoirists, and poets. She also organizes groups of writers, artists, filmmakers and educators to travel to Cuba. Along with her numerous fiction and memoir workshops, she developed and teaches a series of multi-genre workshops on Writing for Social Change (Re-Dream a Just World; Place and Exile/ Borders and Crossings; and Yearning and Justice: Writing the Unlived Life), which she has started writing into a movable workshop.

Visit Anya at
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 19, 2012

    You'll read it again & again

    Blue Earth is a beautifully written tale of regret, history and love. The story takes place around the farming community, in Minnesota during the 80's and 90's. With plenty of flash backs to earlier moments in history. Regret. We all of regrets about the past. Main character & lifetime farmer, Carver Heinz has a lifetime of regret, that he didn't feel until later on in life. So much so, that it was too much to handle at one point. A rough childhood, a broken marriage and few friendships. Dealing with life's issue's at the time is difficult but easier than waiting until problems pile up for years and then often come crumbling down. History. A history lesson of the farming community in Minnesota, the settlers and the first nations people. Realizing mistakes that were made in the past. Finding a way to forgive, learn, teach and make things right. The characters go through their own healing processes, hurting and healing others along the way. Love. Loving the character of a person because in the end beauty always fades. Also appreciating what you have because it won't always be there. This is shown in the shortened love story between the parents of Angie, the child displaced in a tornado. Love because of what is right for you, not because of what others feel is right. *Spoiler Alert* I have to be honest and say that I did not like main character, Carver Heinz. He was rude, mean & quite frankly a little creepy. I was waiting until the end and happy to read that he did not molest or get inappropriate with Angie, a little girl that he rescued, caught in the path of a tornado. I did not want to feel sympathy for Carver but in the end my heart did thaw a little for him. He had an abusive childhood & a poor example of what I believe a man should be. Later in life he also had his own family taken away from him. In his own way he tried to substitute Angie for his daughter, who's life he wasn't a part of any longer. A substitution that was obsessive and one-sided. *Spoiler Alert Ends* I did like that as readers we were able to delve into the lives of the other characters in Blue Earth. Too often characters are introduced with little or no history. I was able to learn about most of the characters and was satisfied with their past and present story lines. Blue Earth is a novel that you will come back to over the years. Not only because of the great story that was told but because of the continuous, poetic rhythm that flows throughout each and every sentence. It's been a few years that while reading a book, I knew that I would come back to it, again and again. That says a lot to me about the storytelling power of the author. I give Blue Earth by Anya Achtenberg, published in 2012, Modern History Press, 5/5. (I was given this novel in exchange for this review, but this did not influence my rating, like/dislike of this book.)

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  • Posted August 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    When Current History, Cultural Heritage, and Reviewed by Richar

    When Current History, Cultural Heritage, and Reviewed by Richard R.
    Blake for Reader Views (8/12) In “Blue Earth” Anya Achtenberg captures
    the “quiet loneliness” of the unspoken depth of unfulfilled dreams,
    dreams of ownership and family. Carver Heinz, a seventh-generation
    German farmer in Blue Earth County, Minnesota lost both. His wife left
    with his young daughter in the midst of the farm crisis of the 1980s,
    when the power of the earth played havoc with the crops adding to the
    power of the bankers in a rush of greedy foreclosures on farmers, their
    acreage and homes. Carver’s dreams turned to nightmares. Forced by the
    bank to auction his farm and equipment, Carver left Mankato in a move to
    Minneapolis where he found employment as a service station attendant. He
    was no longer providing food from the earth but selling fossil fuels
    from within the earth – a dismal acceptance of his fate. In another
    chance act of fate, Carver rescues a young child from a tornado. After
    returning the young girl (Angie) to her parents, Mopstick (August) and
    Barb, Carver becomes obsessed with Angie, a constant reminder of his own
    five-year-old daughter, Rosie. As the years pass, Carver marks time by
    the after-shock of the tornado; celebrating the seasons, observing the
    date of Rosie’s birth, and watching Angie develop into young womanhood.
    Angie’s developing relationship with William, a young Dakota Indian
    incites Carver’s rage, fueled from a deeply instilled hatred for the
    Dakota Indians of Blue Earth Country. Achtenberg carefully develops
    characters whose lives intersect. Their individual stories reflect
    patterns and cycles of sexual and social abuse, dysfunctional families,
    the dynamics of being victimized by cancer, family DNA, as well as their
    reaction to circumstances, the scars of rejection and disfigurement, and
    the hatred of prejudice. She offers hope for healing through forgetting
    the past and presents a classic contrast of inner beauty and perceived
    ugliness. Significant related events include a cultural heritage dating
    back to the 1862 Dakota conflict which resulted in the death sentences
    and public hanging of thirty-eight of the condemned Dakotas. “Blue
    Earth” delivers an intense message warning against the personal dangers
    of hypocrisy, prejudiced judgment, and unresolved forgiveness while
    encouraging the reader to see the beauty in their everyday world with
    gratefulness for their family and friends. Achtenberg incorporates a
    powerful poetic prose into a literary style which can bring the reader
    to the tears, ignite a flame of passion in their heart, and move them to
    take action against social abuse, the injustice of war, corporate greed,
    or the misuse of polit

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  • Posted August 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Will show you beauty but leave you with a feeling of darkness

    The most prevalent nightmares have come from absolute reality. One of the most vicious crimes against humanity occurred in 1862, when thirty-eight Santees were marched to a scaffolding and hung in front of a morbidly curious crowd. This is referred to as the Dakota Conflict, when white men ‘snaked’ across the soil and stole twenty-four million acres of Indian land. They brought industry with them, such as mining, logging and farming. Minnesota saw this intrusion that ended in death, war and unforgivable acts. The farmers received payback from Fate when, in the 1980’s, bankers and financial institutions swept in and put them out of business, taking away all that they had built. Penance, perhaps? Carver Heinz is one of those men who lost it all. He stands at an auction and hears the word “Sold!” screamed out, watching his life’s blood, work, and home taken from him with no hope of return. He’s a hideous human being who believes in nothing but the bad side of life, even losing his wife and beloved daughter because of his anger and attitude. Carver now works in a place he can’t stand, throwing around his ugliness and even doing his best to damage his friend, Mopstick - a man who stands by the side of his cherished wife who’s slowly sinking into the abyss of disease. Carver is a part of this couple’s world because of their daughter, Angie, who he saved from a tornado when she was just a little girl. Throughout this book, readers watch as Carver self-destructs. How he places himself into Angie’s life and watches her grow, becoming amazingly angry when Angie matures and begins to spend her time with an Indian boy. The prejudices and hatred that Carver has makes it extremely difficult for him to watch this relationship grow. When Carver ends up realizing that he’s an integral part of the people he so despises, past meets present and his views begin to change. This book is lyrical; the prose is poetry, as the author offers scenes from the past, present, as well as from pure imagination. Carver encompasses everything that has caused so much bloodshed over the years. He is so memorable, in fact, that when he finally sees that redemption, all the reader will want is to see him swing from the scaffold. Can you forgive the devil? This is the question. The author’s strength truly lies in the ‘beauty’ of her writing, as if each scene is a poem inside her mind. However, this novel is not for the faint of heart. The history of this land is actually the most interesting topic here, and this tale would have benefited from more of the past and less of the present. Quill Says: A story that will show you the beauty of the land, but leave you with the feeling of overwhelming darkness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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