A Country Called Home: Book summary and reviews of A Country Called Home by Kim Barnes

A Country Called Home

By Kim Barnes

A Country Called Home
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2008,
    288 pages.

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Book Summary

It is 1960 when Thomas Deracotte and his pregnant wife, Helen, abandon a guaranteed future in upper-crust Connecticut and take off for a utopian adventure in the Idaho wilderness. They buy a farm sight unseen and find the buildings collapsed, the fields in ruins. But they have a tent, a river full of fish, and fields overgrown with edible berries and dandelion greens: they can survive happily until the house is rebuilt. Thomas discovers he isn’t a natural farmer, but there’s a local boy, Manny—a sweet soul of eighteen without a family of his own—who agrees to manage the fields in exchange for room and board. Their optimism and desire carry them again and again.

Until: the traumatizing circumstances surrounding the birth of their daughter, Elise, test them in ways they could never have anticipated. And soon, in the aftermath of a tragic accident to which only Manny bears witness, suspicion, anger, and regret come to haunt the already shattered family. It is a legacy that Elise will inherit, will struggle with, and, against all odds, will ultimately overcome.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Barnes's descriptions of the rugged landscape are vivid, and the characters' sadness and desires are revealed with wrenching detail." - Publishers Weekly.

"Starred Review. Covering 17 years, Barnes's spellbinding story details personal tragedy and failed Sixties idealism but ends with the hope of a new generation. Highly recommended." - Library Journal.

"[M]any readers will be exasperated by the too-neat parallels and overly literary insights. Resonant with themes of longing and loss, but too self-conscious for its own good." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Author Information

Kim Barnes Author Biography

Scott M. Barrie

Among other works, Kim Barnes is the author of Finding Caruso, A Country Called Home and two memoirs, In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country - a finalist for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize - and Hungry for the World. She is co-editor with Mary Clearman Blew of Circle of Women: An Anthology of Contemporary Western Women Writers, and with Claire Davis of Kiss Tomorrow Hello: Notes from the Midlife Underground by Twenty-Five Women Over Forty. Her essays, stories, and poems have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including The Georgia Review, Shenandoah, MORE magazine, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. She teaches writing at the University of Idaho and lives with her husband, the poet Robert Wrigley, on Moscow Mountain.

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