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Longleaf Combined University Press Titles Fall/Winter 2020

The Haunt of Home
A Journey through America's Heartland
By (author): Zachary Michael Jack
Zachary Michael Jack


Northern Illinois University Press



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade : Age (years) 18
Oct 15, 2020
$25.95 CAD


9in x 6 x 0.6 in | 280 gr

Page Count:

216 pages


1 b&w halftone
Cornell University Press
Northern Illinois University Press
Literary studies: fiction, novelists and prose writers|Memoirs|History of the Americas

What does it mean to deeply love a home place that haunts us still? From Mark Twain to Grant Wood to Garrison Keillor, regionalists from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age have explored the American Gothic and the homegrown fatalism that flourish in many of the nation's most far-flung and forgotten places. The Haunt of Home introduces us to a cast of real-life Midwestern characters grappling with the Gothic in their own lives, from promising young professionals debating the perennial "Should I stay or should I go" dilemma, to recent émigrés and entrepreneurs seeking personal reinvention, to faithful boosters determined to keep their communities alive despite the odds. In The Haunt of Home Zachary Michael Jack considers the many ways a region's abiding spirit shapes the ethos of a land and its people, offering portraits of others who, like himself, are determined to live out the unique promise and predicament of the Gothic.

Zachary Michael Jack is an award-winning author of many books, including, most recently Country Views and Wish You Were Here. Jack is Professor of English at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, a seventh-generation Iowan, and a member of the board of directors for the Midwestern History Association.

This story of fatalism on the prairie is seamlessly grounded in references to American art, literature, and movies and to communal fatalism in classical literature. In this way, Zachary Jack's experiences become universal, extending far beyond Middle America.

- James Ballowe, author of A Man of Salt and Trees

Often beautiful and insightful.

- Anna Clark, author of The Poisoned City

Whether interviewing an Illinois casket-maker, an Iowa pastry chef, a retired Kansas banker, his farmer father, or just himself, Jack touches on the universal experience of exploring alternatives while understanding ourselves. He suggests we avoid abstract, distant, and often urban agendas, and preserve the home places which ultimately define us.

- David Pichaske, author of Bones of Bricks and Mortar

Jack makes a persuasive and elegant argument for the Middle American Gothic, detailed by writers and artists native to the region. Repression, hypocrisy, and empty righteousness play out in the wide-open landscape, pitted against the human inclination for passion. Much of this book rings true.

- Maurice Manning, author of Railsplitter

Scholars and readers interested in regional culture will benefit from the text, as will those who are studying contemporary entries into American gothic nonfiction. Recommended for classrooms in creative writing, sociology, anthropology, and American studies.

- Choice

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