From the New York Times bestselling author of Le Divorce, a dazzling meditation on the mysteries of the ?wispy but material? family ghosts who shape us. Growing up in the small river town of Moline, Illinois, Diane Johnson always dreamed of floating down the Mississippi and off to see the world. Years later, at home in France, a French friend teases her: ?Indifference to history - that's why you Americans seem so na?ve and don't really know where you?re from.? This stayed with Diane. Her family seemed to always have been in the Midwest but surely they had to get there from somewhere. In digging around, she discovers letters and memoirs written by generations of stalwart pioneer ancestors that testify to more complex and fascinating times that the derisive nickname ?the flyover? gives the region credit for. With the acuity and sympathy that her novels are known for, in a transporting and moving exploration of place, she captures the magnetic pull of home against our lust for escape and reinvention of self. For fans of Bill Bryson's The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid and Annie Dillard's An American Childhood, this will be sure to appeal to those in search of their personal histories. This is armchair adventure listening at its finest.
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"JohnsonOs lyrical writing captures the dynamics of fitting in as an expat in France while exploring the varied histories of her contemporaries, as well as her own. Suzanne Toren performs this memoir with sensitivity to its shifts from historical context to vibrant characterizations. She has a flair for verbally depicting the mundane of the Midwest juxtaposed against the French aristocracy and upper-crust society. Johnson recollects memories of her Illinois past, then delves deeper into her genealogical roots, recounting tales of the first of her ancestors to arrive in the New World, pioneering family ghosts, and her own generational guesswork. Toren delivers the charming narrative with humor, grace, and lively vocalizations. A.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine"
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