The Upside-Down Tree

(4 reviews)


Publication Date: February 22, 2022 – Order Today!

The Upside-Down Tree, by Alden Reimonenq, is an insightful, powerful look at the worst of racial hatred and violence during the early Jim Crow years, a time rarely addressed by historical-fiction authors. The novel stems from the horrific Colfax Massacre in Louisiana on April 13, 1873, but is primarily set between 1900–1908 in rural Louisiana. Surprising at every turn, the plot twists through lynchings, cross-burnings, love between the races, gay love, religious intolerance, poverty, illness, and death. Against the backdrop of ever-threatening danger and intimidation from regulators and white authorities, the spirited characters live their day-to-day lives engaging in joyous family scenes, transcending the severity of the ominous problems they face. Catholic and African religious beliefs blend and clash as interracial relationships develop, and a secret gay relationship moves tentatively yet feels like it might have a chance to grow, against all odds. Full of African spirits, mystical images, magical trees, and dynamic characters, The Upside-Down Tree is a novel of enduring hope. Despite a storyline that can at times seem dark and disturbing, it remains positive, reaffirming the overarching goodness of most people. The love, caring, forgiveness, and loyalty intrinsic in richly drawn characters shine through in beautifully crafted lyrical passages. The novel’s enduring message is that love always wins over hate, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity. This message is very timely and craved by many people at this critical moment in American history. After reading the novel, a feeling of hope abides—a rejuvenating feeling that an unfearing look at the past serves a purpose, not to bind us to it, but to better understand the present and continue to strive towards a better future. The Upside-Down Tree is not only a must-read for readers of historical fiction and southern and resistance literature—especially Louisiana Créole descendants and African Americans—but for all readers who yearn for a message of hope and strength for the continued healing of racial discrimination in America.

Please visit author Alden Reimonenq at

SKU: 978-1-951547-17-2 Categories: , Tag:

Additional information

Publication Date

February 22, 2022


Perfect Paperback, eBook


978-1-951547-17-2, 978-1-951547-16-5

LCCN Number



275 pages


5.5 x 8.5 inches

4 reviews for The Upside-Down Tree


    The presentation of a community under siege in Alden Reimonenq’s The Upside-Down Tree immerses the reader in an unforgettable and unflinching novel about the rapacious consequences of the virulent racism in the Deep South after Reconstruction. The impressive evocation of place, character, and circumstance of this difficult and shameful period in American history begins to fill a gap in our literary canon and remains with the reader long after the last page, feeling both enlightened and a little wiser about the sins of our American past.

  2. Carol Beran, PhD, UC Berkeley, Professor Emerita of British and Canadian Literature, published widely on Alice Munro and Margaret Atwood

    If Barack Obama hadn’t already used the title, The Audacity of Hope could be the title of Alden Reimonenq’s first novel. From its opening pages, The Upside-Down Tree immersed me in a time, place, and culture I knew nothing about, in which racism and homophobia threaten and destroy, yet hope persists.
    Characters of diverse races—Black, Choctaw, Creole, White—drew my sympathy or hatred as I read the fast-moving narrative. Joyous community scenes of making gumbo and preparing a crab feast unite diverse individuals, transcending the severity of the problems they face.
    Catholicism and African religious beliefs blend and clash as interracial relationships develop. At the heart of the novel an interracial gay relationship moves tentatively yet feels foreordained.
    The novel exposes racism and homophobia as not merely ugly but deadly in personal and moving ways. As I neared the conclusion, I realized that The Upside-Down Tree was deepening my understanding of the Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ movements while underscoring the audacity of hope.”

  3. Chris Helvey, author of THE WHITE JAMAICAN, editor in chief, TRAJECTORY JOURNAL

    With The Upside-Down Tree, Alden Reimonenq has crafted must-read historical fiction for any reader seriously interested in the early years of the Jim Crow era.
    Mystical, powerful, and imaginatively crafted, Alden Reimonenq’s The Upside-Down Tree pushes back the mists of time and reveals the racial
    prejudice and persecutions of the early Jim Crow era in Louisiana. A must-read for Louisiana Creole descendants, African Americans, as well as readers of historical fiction and southern and resistance literature.
    Unique, mystical, powerful, and unforgettable, Alden Reimonenq’s The Upside-Down Tree is one of the most impactful novels of the year.

  4. Lou Berney, author of many novels, winner of the Edgar Award for NOVEMBER ROAD

    Alden Reimonenq’s The Upside-Down Tree is a remarkable achievement—a riveting, richly textured journey to rural Louisiana at the turn of the twentieth century that also helps explain our present day. It’s a novel of ideas that also never fails to breathe life into its complex, original, and fully human characters. Highly recommended.

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