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The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere on Earth: Minneota, Minnesota

Bill Holm

123 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1571312099 / ISBN 13: 9781571312099
Published by Milkweed, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1996
Condition: Fine Soft cover
From Bev's Book Nook (PERHAM, MN, U.S.A.)

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Book is inscribed by Bill Holm and in excellent condition. Bookseller Inventory # MN102

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere on Earth: ...

Publisher: Milkweed, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Publication Date: 1996

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition:Fine

Signed: Inscribed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Although he agreed with other denizens of his hometown that the definition of failure was "to die in Minneota," when Bill Holm returned there 20 after leaving, he found himself strangely happy to be back in a place where he knew everyone. The Heart Can Be Filled Up Anywhere on Earth celebrates the connections between people that Americans both fear and desire, the connections that have sent us away from small towns to big cities.

From Kirkus Reviews:

After living all over the US and teaching in China, Holm (Coming Home Crazy, not reviewed) reapplies himself with gusto and grandiloquence to life as lived in his hometown, the minute Minneota, Minn. ``The Music of Failure,'' the book's centerpiece essay, showcases most of Holm's themes: the values of the local past, the particulars of family chronicles, the uses of memory, and, in contrast to these qualities, America's rootless lack of history and its obsession with individual success. Having met with failure, however, the author argues that failure is as American as success, and that memory, to be complete, must include those whose failures generally relegate them to obscurity. Holm focuses on the Bardals, a family of Icelandic immigrants who were never an all-American success story, dying out in rural poverty after a century in Minnesota. Pauline Bardal, the last survivor (whom Holm knew as a boy), nonetheless had her own virtues: laconic stoicism, natural charity, and even a minor talent for playing the organ. The author sketches two further examples of virtue in failure: Sara Kline, the town bag lady, to whom the young Holm was still required to show courtesy, and his Aunt Ole, whose romantic cheerfulness prevailed over genteel poverty. And he celebrates the qualities his austere Icelandic ancestors brought to the New World, including a love of literacy and hidden sociability. Holm occasionally provides some interesting contrasts with these musings on family and small-town characters and events by juxtaposing various of his experiences in China. But his exhaustive reaffirmation of his own ``from-ness'' curiously cuts out his experience of the rest of America in a sometimes ostentatious localism. Holm's frequent invocations of Walt Whitman and Tom Paine sometimes overtax the small-town context, but at their best, these essays make a virtue of parochialism. (22 b&w photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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