Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"The Year We Left Home"

I think Jean Thompson is a wonderful writer, and have enjoyed reading her books ever since I discovered her fiction in about 2007. So I was pleased to read her latest book, “The Year We Left Home” (Simon & Schuster, 2011). This novel portrays an Iowa family over a period of thirty years, from 1973 to 2003. The Ericksons -- father, mother, and four children, as well as their various relatives -- are rooted in Iowa, but some of the younger generation feel the eternal call of young people to go “away” –- somewhere bigger and better and different. Yet there is always the countervailing call of the place and community called “home.” This push-pull between home and away, between the old and the new, between the known and the unknown, is a major theme in the novel, as is the eternal theme of the deep, primeval connection with family. The family events take place against the backdrop of national events such as the Vietnam War and its aftermath for veterans, the women’s movement, and the vicissitudes of the economy. The characters are very believable, and the story is compelling.


  1. Stephanie, I'm so happy to learn that Jean Thompson has a new book out. I read and re-read her collection of stories, Who Do You Love. Oh, the opening of the first story "All Shall Love Me and Despair:"
    Scout liked the needle...

  2. Martha, I am glad we share an appreciation for this amazing writer! I am surprised that she is not better known.


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