March Dinner & Discussion:The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson

  • March 20, 2013 · 7:00 PM
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For March we will be reading, "The Year we Left Home" by Jean Thompson.  

 

From National Book Award finalist Jean Thompson comes a mesmerizing, decades-spanning saga of one ordinary American family—proud, flawed, hopeful— whose story simultaneously captures the turbulent history of the country at large.

 

Over the course of a thirty-year career, Jean Thompson has been celebrated by critics as “a writer of extraordinary intelligence and sensitivity” (O, The Oprah Magazine), “an American Alice Munro” (The Wall Street Journal), and “one of our most lucid and insightful writers” (San Francisco Chronicle). Her peers have been no less vocal, from Jennifer Egan (“bracing . . . boldly unconventional”) to David Sedaris (“if there are ‘Jean Thompson characters,’ they’re us, and never have we been as articulate and worthy of compassion”).

Now, in The Year We Left Home, Thompson brings together all of her talents to deliver the career-defining novel her admirers have been waiting for: a sweeping and emotionally powerful story of a single American family during the tumultuous final decades of the twentieth century. It begins in 1973 when the Erickson family of Grenada, Iowa, gathers for the wedding of their eldest daughter, Anita. Even as they celebrate, the fault lines in the family emerge. The bride wants nothing more than to raise a family in her hometown, while her brother Ryan watches restlessly from the sidelines, planning his escape. He is joined by their cousin Chip, an unpredictable, war-damaged loner who will show Ryan both the appeal and the perils of freedom. Torrie, the Ericksons’ youngest daughter, is another rebel intent on escape, but the choices she makes will bring about a tragedy that leaves the entire family changed forever.

Stretching from the early 1970s in the Iowa farmlands to suburban Chicago to the coast of contemporary Italy—and moving through the Vietnam War’s aftermath, the farm crisis, the numerous economic boomsand busts—The Year We Left Home follows the Erickson siblings as they confront prosperity and heartbreak, setbacks and triumphs, and seek their place in a country whose only constant seems to be breathtaking change. Ambitious, richly told, and fiercely American, this is a vivid and moving meditation on our continual pursuit of happiness and an incisive exploration of the national character.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm sorry, but I'm suffering from pneumonia and will not be able to attend. I hope it's a good evening.

    March 14, 2013

  • Deidre

    I'd like to rsvp tut putting a dollar on a credit card on meetup online is a problem. Are there any other options. Its a dollar.

    March 10, 2013

    • Jessica

      The $1 fee helps to maintain the Meetup site. If I do not make it a requirement people often forget to pay me and I already pay the majority of the bi-annual fee. The $1 fee also helps to ensure that people show up when we have reservations. If online payment is an issue, feel free to message me privately and I can manually rsvp for you. Please bring $1 cash to each Meetup you attend.

      March 12, 2013

  • Jessica

    The restaurant made me put down a credit card again to hold the reservation. Please make sure to update your RSVP if you are unable to attend. Thanks!

    March 4, 2013

  • Jessica

    I got an early start on the book and finished this weekend. Great book; I am looking forward to the discussion.

    February 25, 2013

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Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

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