The Year We Left Home

The Year We Left Home

eBook - 2011
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From National Book Award finalist Jean Thompson comes a mesmerizing, decades-spanning saga of one ordinary American family?proud, flawed, hopeful? whose story simultaneously captures the turbulent history of the country at large. Over the course of a thirty-year career, Jean Thompson has been celebrated by critics as "a writer of extraordinary intelligence and sensitivity" ( O, The Oprah Magazine ), "an American Alice Munro" ( The Wall Street Journal ), and "one of our most lucid and insightful writers" ( San Francisco Chronicle ). Her peers have been no less vocal, from Jennifer Egan ("bracing...boldly unconventional") to David Sedaris ("if there are 'Jean Thompson characters,' they're us, and never have we been as articulate and worthy of compassion"). Now, in The Year We Left Home, Thompson brings together all of her talents to deliver the career-defining novel her admirers have been waiting for: a sweeping and emotionally powerful story of a single American family during the tumultuous final decades of the twentieth century. It begins in 1973 when the Erickson family of Grenada, Iowa, gathers for the wedding of their eldest daughter, Anita. Even as they celebrate, the fault lines in the family emerge. The bride wants nothing more than to raise a family in her hometown, while her brother Ryan watches restlessly from the sidelines, planning his escape. He is joined by their cousin Chip, an unpredictable, war-damaged loner who will show Ryan both the appeal and the perils of freedom. Torrie, the Ericksons' youngest daughter, is another rebel intent on escape, but the choices she makes will bring about a tragedy that leaves the entire family changed forever. Stretching from the early 1970s in the Iowa farmlands to suburban Chicago to the coast of contemporary Italy?and moving through the Vietnam War's aftermath, the farm crisis, the numerous economic boomsand busts? The Year We Left Home follows the Erickson siblings as they confront prosperity and heartbreak, setbacks and triumphs, and seek their place in a country whose only constant seems to be breathtaking change. Ambitious, richly told, and fiercely American, this is a vivid and moving meditation on our continual pursuit of happiness and an incisive exploration of the national character.
Publisher: [S.I.] : Simon & Schuster, 2011.
ISBN: 9781439175910
Branch Call Number: eBOOK OVERDRI
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


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sharonb122 Jul 14, 2013

A well-written novel with a "Wizard of Oz" theme where three children (plus Chip) leave home, but eventually all return in one way or another. There is much symbolism and themes. family, of course, war, patriotism.

Jan 28, 2013

Like Alice Munro, Jean Thompson is best known for her well-crafted short stories. This episodic novel spans thirty years and a dozen members of an extended Iowa family in a series of linked stories. Thompson gradually and artfully pulls the threads together into a satisfying whole. This is an author who cares about her characters and her readers.

Jun 10, 2012

A great midwestern family story with less angst than Jonathan Franzen and more love and soul. Started a bit slow but great ending.

Sep 10, 2011

I was so looking forward to this book set in Iowa and covering years contemporary to my own growing up and leaving home. The first two chapters were great?great short stories?but then the storytelling of this family and their individual lives just bogged down for me and seemed a bit forced to cover all the big themes of the past 40 years. I loved Elizabeth Strout's 2009 Pulitzer winner Olive Kitteridge, written in the same way, but I just didn't care too much for any of Thompson's characters. I found myself skimming to get to the end. Many of you are waiting to read this one.

Jul 25, 2011

I really liked the writing style, but the story was boring and not much seemed to happen. I also had a hard time caring about any of the characters enough to see what happened to them, so I just quit.

kabruzino Jul 12, 2011

Loved the book, couldn't put it down. Liked how each chapter was written focusing on a different character each time. Different spin on growing up in the midwest.

debwalker Jun 21, 2011

"Family Saga
Jean Thompson's The Year We Left Home (Simon & Schuster) plumbs the American heart with rigor and intensity, seamlessly connecting one family's fortunes to those of the larger national community—from the aftermath of Vietnam through the farm crisis of the 1980s, into the tech boom and bust. Built from individual narratives that at first seem disconnected, the novel follows the four Erickson siblings of Iowa through marriages and deaths as well as smaller moments of alienation, loss, and maturity. Eventually, like the Ericksons, we come to realize that "no moment of life was like any other and as soon as you became aware of them, they were as good as gone."

— Liza Nelson


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Jun 09, 2014

“The danger of sending your children to college was that they would be contaminated by subversive forces, bad influences and bawdy women."


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