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Prairie Reunion


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A "New York Times" Notable Book for 1995.


Scot (Notes from Nepal) evokes a vivid sense of place in this haunting memoir set on the Iowa prairie. She returned to her childhood home, located in the Presbyterian farming community of Scotch Grove, to understand her mother better. When Scot was a baby and her brother only two, her father deserted his wife for another woman after he had mortgaged her farm and left her saddled with debt, committing suicide a few years later. An old trunk filled with family pictures, letters and other memorabilia left to her by her mother stimulated the author to investigate the reasons for her mother's regard for her father and her lack of bitterness while Scot was growing up. Through visits to family members and research into the area's history, she came away with a better understanding of her father's good qualities and his inability to live up to his own expectations, as well as a respect for her mother's forgiveness and enduring love. 40,000 first printing; author tour. (Sept.)

In the 1940s, when Scot (The Violet Shyness of Their Eyes: Notes from Nepal, LJ 11/15/93) was a young girl in a small town in Iowa, her father abandoned the family, leaving behind a pile of debts for his devoted wife. It was not until the 1990s that Scot returned to her childhood home to investigate her parents' bittersweet relationship and try to understand her mother's unabated love for a man who deserted her for another woman and who subsequently killed himself. In this memoir, Scot also mulls over her own failed first marriage, recollects growing up in her grandmother's house, and sorts out her ancestors' history. The result is a hodgepodge of reconstructed dialog from the past, conversations with relatives in the present, and sensory perceptions of the landscape, with notes about local folklore and geography thrown in. Scot's personal musings lack real coherence and fail to arouse the reader's interest. Not recommended.‘Ilse Heidmann, Kyle Community Lib., Tex.

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