By the Lemon Tree by Keenan Norris

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180909 By the Lemon Tree Full Cover 1.jpg
180909 By the Lemon Tree Full Cover.jpg
180909 By the Lemon Tree Full Cover 1.jpg

By the Lemon Tree by Keenan Norris


Set in the Central California countryside and the Southern California desert, By the Lemon Tree’s old school stories chronicle the collision of wide-eyed childhood with the end of lives human and animal. In “Twice Good” a downtrodden city administrator shows up for a Black Panther protest forty years too late. “Funeral in Fresno” introduces us to an impatient reverend who is forced to confront his past and his future, while in the title story, a young boy born and raised in East Oakland bears witness to life and death in an ancient rural world.

Independent bookstores and libraries can order from our distributor, Small Press Distribution, here

Praise for By the Lemon Tree:

“Keenan Norris has struck gold in the state of today’s California. These absorbing stories concern a rich cast of multi-generational African American characters—from “field” to “street” to “churchin” to school-bookish to innocent to wise characters who are likable and relatable. At heart, By the Lemon Tree is a tender homage to a familial network that has stories to tell at the end of the long day, and damn good ones.”

Stephen D. Gutierrez, American Book Award winner

“An emotional electricity drives this compelling collection of stories that chronicles the fading lives of a once vibrant black community. Norris proves himself to be a remarkable artist with these stories on loss, race, and family that are in turn lyrical, witty, and haunting. A fantastic read.”

Heidi W. Durrow, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

“There is no single ideal of American fiction, but there are books that capture the many essences of this country—the geography of the land, the weather, the layers of civilization and punishment and possibility and loss that rests over and under all of our cities and small towns, the ways in which the past is always coming upon us and why the future is both a confusion and a romance. In By the Lemon Tree, Keenan Norris crafts stories that hold these essences in each sentence and scene and we find our self in central California, hot and wild and funny and tragic and captivated in a way only the best stories can. By the Lemon Tree gives the reader an intimate and immediate connection to the African American experience in central California, the child’s experience in the land of adults, the lovelorn in the land of cynics, and these are experiences that will linger with readers long after these stories come together and go apart.

Laleh Khadivi, author of A Good Country

Publication Details

All of our books are printed locally in Oakland, CA. We strongly believe in supporting local publishers and local printers.

September 2018 • 5 x 7 • 60 pp. • Trade Paper

ISBN: 978-1-7323340-6-9

Cover art by Arthur Johnstone

Interior and cover design by J. K. Fowler

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