Portable Prairie

Portable Prairie

Confessions of An Unsettled Midwesterner

Book - 2005
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Baker & Taylor
A personal meditation on the concept of home as experienced by a midwesterner recounts the author's childhood in South Dakota as the daughter of a hard-working newspaper family, her indoctrination into the order of Job's Daughters, her 1970s Princeton education, her early writing days, and the unexpected richness of her single life. 17,500 first printing.

McMillan Palgrave
A luminous debut that follows a young woman searching for home, near and far from her Midwestern roots.

In a moving and bittersweet story, M.J. Andersen chronicles her childhood and adolescence in South Dakota, her departure to forge her own life, and her persistent longing for the landscape she left behind. Her hometown, given the fictional name of Plainville, is so quiet that one local family regularly parks by the tracks to watch the train pass through. Yet small-town life and, especially, the prairie prove to be fertile ground for Andersen's imagination. Exploring subjects as seemingly unrelated as Roy Rogers and Tolstoy's beloved Anna Karenina, she repeatedly locates a transcendent connection with South Dakota's broad horizon.

Andersen introduces us to her hardworking newspaper family, which produces one of Plainville's two competing weeklies; to Job's Daughters, a Christian association intended to prepare young women for adversity (Plainville's chapter assumes the added responsibility of throwing the town's best teen dances); and even to a local variety of hardy alfalfa, to which her best friend has a surprising kinship.

Leaving behind her physical home, Andersen travels East for college, remaining to begin a journalism career. With her husband she eventually settles into her first house, a beautiful Victorian that, though loved, somehow does not feel like home in the way she had anticipated. Through subsequent travels, memories, and a meditation on Tolstoy's complex relationship to his ancestral home, she arrives at a new idea of what home is -- one that should resonate with every American who has ever had to pull up stakes.

A luminous debut that follows a young woman searching for home, near and far from her Midwestern roots.

& Taylor

The author recounts her childhood in South Dakota, describing her hard-working newspaper family and her early writing days, and reminiscencing on the meaning of home and prairie life.

Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books, 2005
ISBN: 9780312326890
Characteristics: x, 241 p. ; 22 cm


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