O's 2011 Summer Reading List

What's your favorite flavor? No matter, because we've got 'em all: refreshing histories, nutty novels, and love stories that will make you melt.
The Year We Left Home
Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

The Year We Left Home

336 pages; Simon & Schuster
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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