Prairie Silence

  • by Melanie M. Hoffert
  • Narrated by Abby Craden
  • 7 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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What the Critics Say

“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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An Expatriate from the Rural American Prairie

This memoir speaks to anyone who left “back there” for the big city, but realizes they never quite got away.

A gay woman, who was never seen by anyone in her small North Dakota town as anything but a cipher, finally leaves her claustrophobic but compelling rural life behind for downtown Minneapolis.

Now, years later, she wants to go back home to visit. Everyone from her childhood asks her if she’s found a “fella” yet. Cue the sweaty palms and abrupt subject changes.

Magnificent writing. You’ll understand the true meaning of “prairie silence” in the first chapter.
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- Susie "I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South.""

Nice Scenery

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I think I would add more action. It is a narration. A drawing of words. A still piece, but pretty. Personally though, I would have like to see more Vincent Van Gogh in this bit of writing.


What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I really didn't like this book. It moved too slow. Too much narration


What do you think the narrator could have done better?

I am not sure if there was a lot you could do with this book, but the narrator put me to sleep. I got through 3/4 of the book and then laid it to rest.


If this book were a movie would you go see it?

If I need a sleeping pill, go see the movie.It would be healthier than the sleeping pill.


Any additional comments?

I like narrations that paint pictures of small towns, small settings, but as much as I tried to see the beautiful scenery, it just was too boring for me. I couldn't finish it as a result.

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- A. Sanchez "Shepherd"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-12-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios