The Devil Tree by Jerzy Kosinski
New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973. First American edition; first printing. Hardcover. 208 pages ; 22 cm. $6.95 dust jacket. Bright, Clean, and unmarked copy.
THE DEVIL TREE
Jonathan James Whalen is the American dream locked in the American nightmare. As the handsome young heir to a vast industrial fortune, Whalen moves freely from the hippie colonies of Nepal and the opium brothels of Burma to the exclusive clinics of Europe and the luxury suites of Manhattan, bathed in the irresponsibility of the super privileged. Yet his freedom exists only in the eyes of his women, his servants, and his enemies, for as his quest for self becomes more frenzied, his roots grow stronger, threatening to strangle him in a heritage of madness. Careening through the circuses of self-searching —drugs, sex, crime, encounter therapy—Whalen comes to discover the escape route has no exit: for some in America, coming of age is coming apart.
In The Devil Tree, Jerzy Kosinski has recreated an American tragedy with the immediacy of a concerned witness and the insight of a major novelist. This fierce novel, swift in action, replete with characters and events, and rising to an unpredictable, shattering conclusion, is a powerful and memorable experience.
Jerzy Kosinski was born in Poland in 1933. He arrived in the United States in 1957 and completed his graduate and post-graduate education here.
Mr. Kosinski, who writes only in English, is the author of three previous novels: The Painted Bird, which won France's Best Foreign Book Award; Steps, which won the National Book Award for Fiction; and Being There. His nonfiction includes literary criticism and two volumes on collective behavior, The Future is Ours, Comrade and No Third Path, both published under the pen name Joseph Novak. Mr. Kosinski's books have been translated into every major language.
Jerzy Kosinski has been both a Ford and a Guggenheim fellow, and a recipient of the Award for Literature of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He has taught at Wesleyan and Princeton, and is presently Professor of Prose and Criticism at Yale University.
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