From Publishers Weekly
Bookended by two wars—Vietnam and Iraq—Thompson's third novel (after the collection Do Not Deny Me) sketches the travails of an Iowa family over three decades. Matriarch Audrey neatly sums up the episodic novel's grand theme: "she'd been born into one world, hopeful and normal, and now she lived in another, full of sadness and failure." The novel opens as oldest daughter Anita, the beauty of the family, celebrates her marriage. Over the years, however, Anita confronts dissatisfaction with herself and disillusionment with her pompous husband. Her younger brother, Ryan, a high school senior as the novel opens, longs to escape his rural roots, dating a hippie poet and majoring in political science before realizing that the farmers who came before him might hold more relevance than he'd imagined. Cousin Chip comes back from Vietnam troubled and aimless, his wanderings from Seattle to Reno, Nev., to Veracruz, Mexico, offering a parallel to the spiritual restlessness all the other characters feel. Told from the point of view of more than a half-dozen characters, the vignettes that make up the narrative are generally powerful in isolation, but as a whole fail to develop into anything more than a series of snapshots of a family touched by time and tragedy. (May)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Wise and absorbing, this is one not to miss.” —People
“An extraordinarily warm-hearted novel.” —Jonathan Dee, The New York Times Book Review
“The Year We Left Home
plumbs the American heart with rigor and intensity, seamlessly connecting one family’s fortunes to those of the larger national community.” —Liza Nelson, O: The Oprah Magazine
“Startlingly good . . . You may forget that the characters don’t really exist, that the Iowa farm family so expertly drawn by the author never drew breath themselves.” —Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune
“Fantastic . . . Enormously satisfying . . . Thompson has a light, exquisite touch. . . . Rich, detailed, resonant, emotionally spot-on.” —Bill Eichenberger, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Enlightening and quietly brilliant . . . Thompson is a master at mining the most ridiculous of human foibles while never losing compassion for her flawed characters.” —Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald
“Wry and tender . . . Such is Thompson’s artistry that moments of everyday sorrow and nobility made me weep.” —John Repp, Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Told with extraordinary grace . . . The clan at the center of Jean Thompson’s spare, startlingly resonant new novel remain inextricably linked to the place that made them, even as they reach for lives richer in both geography and purpose.” —Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
“A smart, resonant novel.” —Boston Globe
“Powerful and darkly humorous . . . Thompson’s characters are sharply drawn and deeply familiar. Her dialogue is pitch-perfect.” —Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star Tribune