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Prairie Silence: A Memoir Hardcover – January 8, 2013
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In this affecting memoir, Hoffert proves that while you can indeed go home again, it will, of course, never be quite the same. A true child of the prairie, she grew up on a farm in North Dakota, experiencing, as many of her generational peers, a love-hate relationship with the vast, stark terrain and the decaying small towns that characterize the contemporary plains states. Despite her affinity with her childhood home, her essential need to escape was made more acute by the fact that she recognized, at an early age, that she was gay. Still, the literal and metaphorical prairie silence eventually drew her home for a monthlong stay at harvest time, “because eventually to resolve everything, to truly find peace, you must come to terms with the place your inner soul calls home.“ A heartfelt coming-out story as well as an eloquent elegy to a rural way of life that is rapidly vanishing from the American landscape. --Margaret Flanagan
“A heartfelt coming-out story as well as an eloquent elegy to a rural way of life that is rapidly vanishing from the American landscape.” —Booklist
“In Prairie Silence, Melanie Hoffert shows how the landscapes of our childhood continue to speak to us, and through us, long after we’ve left them behind. In this beautifully written and deeply imagined memoir, Hoffert invites us back to her North Dakota farming community for a season of harvest, a personal journey of profound courage and grace.” —Judy Blunt, author of Breaking Clean
“Hoffert’s bittersweet and compelling memoir recalls her struggles at ending her silence and creating a fuller life for herself. She illuminates the quiet grace of the people and land she loves and mourns the passing of a way of life.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“The quiet, lyric prose of Melanie Hoffert’s Prairie Silence crept into my days, making it impossible for me to stop turning pages. This book is about looking for oneself in places we are so often afraid to venture. A beautiful debut from a brave new writer.” —Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance
“This is a gorgeous book that evokes quiet country mornings and loud self-examination. . . . If you once believed that you can’t truly ever go home again, Prairie Silence is a book you’ll be eager to read.” –Washington Blade
“A heartfelt love song to a place and its people as well as an honest and rewarding rendering of the author’s interior landscape.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Hoffert’s intimate memoir of place reveals a personal journey both fraught and wondrous, and a present reality of surprising richness.” —Patricia Weaver Francisco, author of Telling
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Top customer reviews
The book weaves a present tense narrative of her memories of high school and first dalliances with love and heartbreak as well as the narrative of her time back in the "country" - reflecting on her youth, as she rediscovers the surrounding areas and people she knew growing up.
This book is a beautiful love song to the prairie, as well as a voice for all who have struggled with secrets and how one rectifies that with the rest of the world. I look forward to more writing by this talented young woman.
I have now read and reread it. The honesty expressed about the people and the home I know is refreshing and accurate. I laughed, cried, smiled, and was reminded how much I loved my home. However, I was also reminded of why I cringe when I speak with a distant family friend or family member and why I keep my silence. Melanie paints a beautiful picture of what it is like to not only be a North Dakotan, but a queer North Dakotan. She manages to express the frustrations that I have with this land that I love and long for, and how those frustrations are what make it so beautiful. I can see close friends, distant relatives, local shop owners, and not so strangers from off the street in the characters she has artfully described.
After my second go through, the lesson I have taken away has become more apparent. I have learned to speak truth, to reconcile my silence. How can you allow others to enter your life if you do not express your truth and hide from preconceived notions of judgment. With that in mind, I have a few things left to do before I leave North Dakota and return to school this fall.
I highly recommend Prairie Silence.
I recommend this book whole-heartedly.