“The Year We Left Home is a truly mesmerizing novel about an American family during the late 20th century. Each page is filled with the raw and remarkable realities of everyday life juxtaposed with profound observations about the triumphs and tragedies we all face as a family and a nation. Jean Thompson has given readers a gift to savor and share.”
— Anderson McKean, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL
A New York Times bestseller, The Year We Left Home is National Book Award finalist Jean Thompson’s mesmerizing, decades-spanning saga of one ordinary American family that captures the turbulent history of the country at large.
Named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a People magazine “Pick of the Week,” and an Indie Next and Midwest Connections selection, The Year We Left Home is the career-defining novel that Jean Thompson’s admirers have been waiting for: a sweeping and emotionally powerful story of a single American family during the tumultuous final decades of the twentieth century.
Stretching from the early 1970s in the Iowa farmlands to suburban Chicago and across the map of contemporary America, The Year We Left Home follows the Erickson siblings as they confront prosperity and heartbreak, setbacks and triumphs, and seek their place in a country whose only constant seems to be breathtaking change. Ambitious and richly told, this is a vivid and moving meditation on our continual pursuit of happiness and an incisive exploration of the national character.
About the Author
Jean Thompson is a novelist and short story writer. Her works include the novels A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl, She Poured Out Her Heart,The Humanity Project, The Year We Left Home, City Boy, Wide Blue Yonder,The Woman Driver, and My Wisdom and the short story collections TheWitch and Other Tales Re-Told, Do Not Deny Me, Throw Like a Girl, Who DoYou Love (a National Book Award finalist), Little Face and Other Stories, and The Gasoline Wars. Thompson’s short fiction has been published in many magazines and journals, including the New Yorker, and anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The PushcartPrize. Thompson has been the recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, among other accolades, and has taught creative writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Reed College, Northwestern University, and other colleges and universities. She lives in Urbana, Illinois.
“Wise and absorbing, this is one not to miss.” —People
“An extraordinarily warm-hearted novel.” —Jonathan Dee, The New York Times Book Review
“The Year We Left Home plumbs the American heart with rigor and intensity, seamlessly connecting one family’s fortunes to those of the larger national community.” —Liza Nelson, O: The Oprah Magazine
“Startlingly good . . . You may forget that the characters don’t really exist, that the Iowa farm family so expertly drawn by the author never drew breath themselves.” —Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune
“Enlightening and quietly brilliant . . . Thompson is a master at mining the most ridiculous of human foibles while never losing compassion for her flawed characters.” —Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald
“Wry and tender . . . Such is Thompson’s artistry that moments of everyday sorrow and nobility made me weep.” —John Repp, Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Told with extraordinary grace . . . The clan at the center of Jean Thompson’s spare, startlingly resonant new novel remain inextricably linked to the place that made them, even as they reach for lives richer in both geography and purpose.” —Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
“A smart, resonant novel.” —Boston Globe
“Powerful and darkly humorous . . . Thompson’s characters are sharply drawn and deeply familiar. Her dialogue is pitch-perfect.” —Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star Tribune