The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson

Lisa Lepore
Library Director

I like how Jean Thompson looks at class issues, marriage, the push and pull of family. Iowa, Midwest ethos. Great characters.

She wrote:

“She was a bad, foul, unnatural mother.”
“She asked him where he was from and he said Iowa. Darkest Iowa.”
“Outside, the same frozen street, same dirty-pink mercury-vapor streetlight, the same stick tree throwing its bare shadow….It was easy for him to imagine, at such times, that he was lost in a nightmare loop of time, when it would always be a black night in stark and staring winter and he would always be awake to see it.”
“At some point in their life together he had assumed the burden of making her happy. Her most familiar mood, what he thought of as her default position, was one of exasperated suffering. Which he must attend, coax, tease, and try to reason away. He would never be entirely successful; at best she would only be not unhappy. But he would always be obliged to try.”
“Strips and lozenges of sky.”
Iowa Writer’s Workshop celebrates 75 years. PBS
“What I set out to do was write a novel using short story craft.” Work-in-progress
“Observations From 20 Years of Iowa Life.” Stephen Bloom, Atlantic Monthly
“Look to Iowa’s Future, Not Its Past: A Response to Bloom.” Bernard Sherman, Atlantic Monthly

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