I see a universe animated by appetite. All history the story of hunger. For sustenance, shelter, and sex. The hunger for power and love. For fame and gold and vengeance. For a capital G God, or at least some lowercase substitutes. . .

A memoir of two professional and competitive tree-climbing brothers, both hungry for transcendence and adventure, coming to terms with their relationship to the divine, the family that first provided a framework for faith, and their own obsessions, victories, and failures.

Advance praise for
On Heights & Hunger

"Written with a passion that burns into the page, Josh MacIvor-Andersen straps the pieces of his own story to his back and takes us up into the canopy above, into a 'tree hunger' where he shaves and prunes and cuts until he arrives at the many shimmering truths of this beautifully told profession of love: for his brother, for physical labor, for the earth we have abused, for the search for God, for beauty, for the right woman, for the way to live this one life we are all given. This is one of the finest memoirs I’ve read in quite a while."
— Andre Dubus III

"On Heights & Hunger is the most gripping, insightful, fire-bright memoir I’ve read in a very long time. It uses as its springboard the complex love between two brothers, then deftly vaults into a wide-ranging exploration of seemingly disparate subjects: competitive tree-climbing, Christian faith, the travails of youth and discovering purpose in life, and so much more. The narrative that emerges is both emotionally and intellectually engaging at the highest level. I loved it."
— Jeremy Hawkins, author of The Last Days of Video

"Here is a new version of the old story where the promise of old made miraculously new falls short, and it's left to the teller to make a different tale. Josh MacIvor-Andersen is a fine teller."
— Kyle Minor, author of Praying Drunk

"Josh MacIvor-Andersen's debut memoir On Heights and Hunger somehow feels like an ancient tale, a myth of family and faith and trees that has been retold for a modern audience. There is wrestling in these pages--honest and painful wrestling with demons and doubt, and it is this essayistic reckoning through story that pulls me in and keeps me watching, almost hypnotized, as he dances through time and place with the same grace and skill with which Andersen and his brother danced through the trees of Nashville."
— Steven Church, author of One with the Tiger: Sublime and Violent Encounters between Man and Animal and a founding editor of The Normal School.

"With a storyteller’s heart and a poet’s sensibility, Josh MacIvor-Andersen uncovers everything dangerous and divine in the Tennessee treetops. He lures readers higher and higher, with staggering, perfectly chiseled sentences, before whisking us off to Moscow and Oaxaca and beyond, always in search of something other-worldly. I went along gladly, gratefully—gobbling up each new lyrical line and unexpected connection—before coming back down to earth, feeling changed. Not to mention smarter."
— Jeremy B. Jones, author of Bearwallow: A Personal History of a Mountain Homeland

"I met the human gods of MacIvor-Andersen’s gorgeous and big-hearted memoir once before, in William Blake's giants of inner conflict that everyone must embrace to be whole. In On Heights & Hunger, it’s as though you’d stepped into the pages of Joseph Campbell’s journeys, where the wounded hero is brother Aaron, maniacal in the trees, fearless and 'almost dying all the time.' There’s a mighty lot of chainsaws and testosterone in this tale of purely male energy in youth—and then, surprise, it ripens into deep tenderness for all sentient beings. Truly half out of their minds when young, Aaron and Josh grow into men of compassion and ineffable sweetness. Yet nothing’s predictable here, so the trajectory isn’t just toward a pilgrim’s progress—for a journey dedicated to the life-force, it remains a piercing rumination on mortality, a death-trip looking back from beyond the vale."
— Diana Hume George, author of The Lonely Other: A Woman Watching America

100 Books to Read for The Rest of 2016 - Brooklyn Magazine

"After reading his memoir, On Heights & Hunger, you might wish more memoir writers were trained arborists, too. MacIvor-Andersen writes with a hunger for transcendence balanced by an acute awareness of his own weight, his own flaws and failures. . ." - Aubrey Allison at Image Journal

Prologue: On Heights & Hunger - excerpt

"Josh's calm, controlled talent quietly leaps out at you, and while you may think you just started one of his pieces, you'll find yourself at its end. These are autobiographical meditations on his relationship to trees (he is both a former professional tree climber as well as tree feller). Here he finds the divine in leaves and branches." - Michael, Snowbound Books


September 15, 2016, Bards & Brews, Ore Dock Community Space, Marquette, MI
October 4, 2016, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
October 14-16, 2016, Southern Festival of Books, Nashville
October 18, 2016, City Lights Bookstores, Sylva, NC
October 20, 2016, Desert Island Supply Co./Church Street Books, Mountain Brook, AL
October 26, 2016, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO
November 2, 2016, Western Illinois University

Stay tuned for more reviews and event news

Get to know Josh. Download a Q&A (PDF).

Josh MacIvor-Andersen is an award-winning writer, teacher, and competitive tree climber. He lives in Marquette, Michigan with his family and teaches writing, journalism, literature, and mythology at Northern Michigan University. He is also the editor of the forthcoming Rooted: An Anthology of Arboreal Nonfiction.

On Heights & Hunger
Josh MacIvor-Andersen
242 pages
$16.00 paperback ISBN 9781944853006
$9.99 ebook ISBN 9781944853181

September 2016

Also from
Josh MacIvor-Andersen:
Rooted: The Best New Arboreal Nonfiction
April 2017

Chapter 1

I see a universe animated by appetite. All history the story of hunger. For sustenance, shelter, and sex. The hunger for power and love. . .

"There’s something comforting knowing that within a few minutes I can safely ascend to the tippy tops of our sprawling back-yard elm. Just in case."


copyright 2016 OP19 Books LLC