A rural expatriate’s struggle to reconcile family, home, love, and faith with the silence of the prairie land and its people.
Melanie Hoffert longs for her rural North Dakota home with its grain trucks and empty main streets. But like many, she followed the out-migration pattern to a more urban life. When she returns home during harvest to confront the silences that have kept her at arm’s length from her childhood community, she finds it’s not easy. When asked if she's found a “fella,” rather than explain that she dates women, she stops breathing and changes the subject.
In this evocative memoir, Hoffert offers a deeply personal and poignant meditation on land and community, taking listeners on a journey of self-acceptance and reconciliation.
“The author’s mostly quiet narrative includes a wealth of haunting images and ideas that will linger long after the last sentence. 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)
“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)
"Melanie Hoffert has written a gutsy, complicated book about the little town we both came from (but which she experienced in a much, much different way).” (Chuck Klosterman, author of Downtown Owl and The Visible Man)
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An Expatriate from the Rural American Prairie
I loved the connection to the Midwest rural lifestyle. Many of our families are separated when rural America doesn't accept our kids.
Melanie, of course, was my favorite. Her journey through adolescence and young adulthood was so familiar to all of us.
I didn't have any extreme reactions. I have a child who is gay, who has fewer complications in city living than with us in the Midwest. We love him like we love our own lives, and can't imagine treating him any differently than any other members of our family.
I would suggest this book to others who want to learn to love.