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Flyover Lives
by Diane Johnson

Overview - "Smart . . . perceptive . . . "Flyover Lives "is a memoir of the Midwest sure to charm readers."
--Maureen Corrigan, NPR
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.
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More About Flyover Lives by Diane Johnson
 
 
 
Overview
"Smart . . . perceptive . . . "Flyover Lives "is a memoir of the Midwest sure to charm readers."
--Maureen Corrigan, NPR
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 naive and don't really know where you're from."
The "j'accuse" stayed with Johnson. Were Americans indifferent to history? Her own family seemed always to have been in the Midwest. Surely they had got there from somewhere? In digging around, she discovers letters and memoirs written by generations of stalwart pioneer ancestors that testify to more complex times than the derisive nickname "The Flyover" gives the region credit for.
With the acuity and sympathy that her novels are known for, she captures the magnetic pull of home against our lust for escape and self-invention. This spellbinding memoir will appeal to fans of Bill Bryson, Patricia Hampl, and Annie Dillard.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780670016402
  • ISBN-10: 0670016403
  • Publisher: Viking Books
  • Publish Date: January 2014
  • Page Count: 263
  • Reading Level: Ages 18-UP


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Literary
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Women

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-11-18
  • Reviewer: Staff

Award-winning novelist and essayist (L’Affair) Johnson explores her Midwestern roots and family history in this charming and candid memoir. Using letters written by her pioneer ancestors, the author delves into family stories while examining the lure she always felt to leave her comfortable home in Moline, Ill. “A pleasant place, surrounded by cornfields, I had always longed to get out of.” Johnson eventually got her wish, expanding her cultural horizons by living in California, London, and France. Johnson fills her chronological narrative with glimpses into the lives of her the 18th-century ancestors—lives filled with departures for the New World, religious revelations, and the painting, quilting, knitting, crocheting, and canning skills that preoccupied her female ancestor’s lives and were common activities for both her mother and aunts. Johnson’s tale tips into contemporary times with recollections of her family’s love for bucolic self-reliance, played out in their summer home; her Protestant upbringing; and her experiences in New York while a guest editor at Mademoiselle alongside Sylvia Plath. Johnson lightly touches on her two marriages and her writing career. An enjoyable peek into how America shaped one celebrated author’s consciousness. (Jan.)

 
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