The Year We Left Home
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.
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 f...more
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Now, in The Year We Left Home, Ms. Thompson leverages all her strengths and skills as a short-story writer and creates a sweeping and emotionally satisfying novel composed of interlocking, decade-spanning stories of a family in flux. As her grand theme, she takes on the universal quest for “home”, exploring all...more
Jean Thompson created a wonderfully quiet and subtle work with The Year We Left Home. She draws you seamlessly into the characters and the place. The story has a rather unassuming beginning: Iowa in winter, a wedding, two cousins getting high in a truck.
"He wished he was out there right now, in some desert, instead of smack in the middle of his family, who, because they knew his origins and his history, thought they knew...more
Some contemporary novels are very rich in language and character development, and while not a lot happens, they still succeed at moving the reader. Those are the novels...more
"The Year We Left Home" follows four siblings and a cousin through their lives beginning in 1973 and ending in 2003. You follow their triumphs and their disappointments through the years and find that Ryan, Anita, Blake, and Torrie are not so different from your own family or other peoples' families. You know, that might be boring o...more
A good r...more
The Erickson offspring grew from hearty Midwestern stock, with traditional values more deeply entrenched, perhaps, because of the hint of the Norwegian origins that still cling to them. Some of the family members are still farming, while oth...more
* Jean Thompson does an excellent job of portraying the family's life in a believable way. You almost feel they could be the family next door.
* The book is well-written, no annoying writing quirks, too much dialect, etc.
* The story is woven deftly around the events of three decades
* There is just the right amount of action, events to keep the story believable
What I didn't lik...more
What has bothered me in other instances of this "novel-but-really-we're-a-collection-of-short-stories" genre, ala A Visit from the Goon Squad and O...more
I'm not sure if I will find anyone to agree with me, but I always get annoyed when a woman tries to write from a mal...more
In this moving novel, Jean Thompson follows a small-town Iowan family through thirty years of changes beginning in 1973. Those are the years when the insulated, land-bound Midwest was invaded by every social and economic upheaval and became once and for all, for better or for worse, integrated into American life.
The Erickson family came from a long line of hardworking stoic Norwegian farmers, but the most recent generation is having nothing to do with all that. The blows to patriotism brought ab...more
Interrelated short stories seems to be a p...more
Anyway, this book is good, really good in parts. I...more
So, I thought, let's do this! I'd never heard of Thompson, but luckily, I had a copy of the novel on hand — I'd won it several months ago in a Friday Reads giveaway. So I dug it up from where it'd been buried at...more
The Year We Left Home has basically no plot, but chronicled the lives of an extended family. I can't get enough of stories like this, ones centered on different people and how they deal with life, how everyone reacts and chooses things differently. I felt the same draw to The Year We Left Home that I did with The Lovely Bones, though the two don't have anything in common besides the fact that they take place over decades and follow several differe...more
"She was a bad, foul, unnatural mother."
"You turning into one of those crazy women? Nothing maks you happy?"
"She asked him where he was from and he said Iowa. Darkest Iowa."
"Outside, the same frozen street, same dirty-pink mercury-vapor streetlight, the same stick tree throwing its bare shadow....It was easy for him to imagine, at such times, that he was lost in a...more
As most people have mentioned, there is no plot per se, it is just the story of this family over the course of 30 years, skipping between narrators and jumping forward a couple of years each chapter. Because of this, many of the characters seem to lack dep...more
"The Year We left Home" reminds me "The Embers" by Hyatt Bass, but if you have to choose one of them - choose this one! I plan to read this book again someday. I only wish that I could continuly catch up with Ryan, Torrie, Anita, and Blake. While you don't always like the...more
"The Year We Left Home" spans thirty years in the lives of the Erickson family of Iowa. The novel starts and ends with the second of the four Erickson kids, Ryan. He's the core of the book, and easily my favorite character, yet he is an early and lasting eni...more
Jean Thompson's latest novel is a testament to the part of us that makes us uniquely American: that we have the potential to be someone really special. Not the humdrum boring life were were brought up in, but a new life and a new person in a completely different (and exciting) place.
The story begins in 197...more
Thompson is also the author of the novel The Year We Left Home, the acclaimed short fiction collections Do Not Deny Me, and Throw Like a Girl as well as the novel City Boy; the short story collection Who Do You Love, and she is a 1999 National Book A...more
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Rolled with laughter. Parent's fear, college student's desire.”