Why do we read fiction? To find books like The Home Place by Carrie La Seur.
For most of us the exigencies of an engaged life leave us drained of energy, with diminished capacity to cope with complexities. Working multiple part time jobs, facing economic realities and people problems far scarier than any fiction, each day can leave us worn and used— more than we thought was possible. A good novel can be both welcome respite and escape from all of that, which is what I found in The Home Place.
I don’t know La Seur hardly at all.
We worked briefly together, along with many others, on an advocacy campaign to stop three coal fired power plants from being built in Iowa. We stopped two out of three.
I offered to volunteer for her Plains Justice, but the person who interviewed me never called back.
My experiences of Montana are quite different from those depicted in the book. If fiction is to be successful, it must be true to the author’s own experience rather than worrying much about others. The book seems deep in that.
What matters more is La Seur did not get the memo from authors like Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thompson, Truman Capote and others that there was a new journalism that blended fiction and non-fiction. I’m glad she didn’t, or if she did, that she rejected the notion to present a novel more traditionally.
For what we need is twofold— an escape from the quotidian struggle for existence in a turbulent world, and ability to reach catharsis. The Home Place provided both.
The book seems well written and engaging. La Seur’s personality resonates throughout the pages, and she seems an active participant in the narrative. Whether that is good or bad is for others to consider. For me, I needed a break, and The Home Place provided that.