Far from Home: Life and Loss in Two American Towns

Far from Home: Life and Loss in Two American Towns

by Ron Powers

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a vital and disturbing book, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Powers ( White Town Drowsing ) contrasts the changes in the characters of two towns: Cairo, Ill., which he visited for this study, and Kent, Conn., where he had a home until recently, when he relocated to Vermont. In once-prosperous Cairo, the citizenry, organized by 73-year-old community development specialist Richard Poston, is attempting, not altogether successfully, to reinvigorate itself. Kent has different problems. Farming country since the 1700s, the town has been invaded by developers, whose condo complexes destroy the landscape, and by moneyed newcomers, who cause resentment: Henry Kissinger, for example, cleared his acreage of the blueberry bushes the townsfolk, by tradition, considered theirs for the picking. American towns flourish and die as a matter of course, readers are reminded by a writer who affectingly shows that ``if town life in this country is over, so is an essential culture rooted in obligations and the perception of a common good.'' (June)
Library Journal - Library Journal
As small towns die, asks Powers, can the culture, even the myths they represent survive in this urban age? In White Town Drowsing ( LJ 11/1/86), he examined the struggles of his hometown Hannibal, Missouri. Here he limns an endangered species--the small town threatened, ironically, by either of opposite afflictions: atrophy or hyperprosperity. Cairo, Illinois, a long-dying river town wracked by economic and racial problems, hopes to be saved by a professor of community development. In contrast, Kent, Connecticut, finds wealthy New Yorkers buying weekend homes, straining services, and causing such a rise in property values and taxes that the service people, after centuries of local residence, can't afford to live in their own town anymore. Powers's keen eye for detail and sympathetic ear bring alive the often bewildered people in these threatened places. Highly recommended for all libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/91.-- Roland Person, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale

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Random House Publishing Group
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1st ed

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