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No Heroes: A Memoir of Coming Homeby Chris Offutt
Synopses & Reviews
In his fortieth year, Chris Offutt returns to his alma mater, Morehead State University, the only four-year school in the Kentucky hills. He envisions leading the modest life of a teacher and father. Yet present-day reality collides painfully with memory, leaving Offutt in the midst of an adventure he never imagined: the search for a home that no longer exists.
Interwoven with this bittersweet homecoming tale are the wartime stories of Offutt's parents-in-law, Arthur and Irene. An unlikely friendship develops between the eighty-year-old Polish Jew and the forty-year-old Kentucky hillbilly as Arthur and Offutt share comfort in exile, reliving the past at a distance. With masterful prose, Offutt combines these disparate accounts to create No Heroes, a profound meditation on family, home, the Holocaust, and history.
After an absence of twenty years, Chris Offutt returned to Kentucky to teach at his alma mater, Morehead State University, hoping to give something back to his community, to become, quietly, a hero of sorts. He settles in and strives to fit in with his neighbors and with the patterns of small-town life. But as present-day realities collide with memory, Offutt realizes that he is searching for a home that no longer exists.
Interweaving the story of his own homecoming with the moving story of his in-laws, Holocaust survivors whose own search for a safe, familiar haven remains elusive, Offutt gradually comes to accept his father-in-law's poignant and universal lesson: "home is illusory" and there are "no heroes" in life.
After an absence of 20 years, Offutt returned to Kentucky to teach at his alma mater, and to become, quietly, a hero of sorts. But as present-day realities collide with memory, Offutt realizes that he is searching for a home that no longer exists.
About the Author
Chris Offutt, author of the critically acclaimed story collections Kentucky Straight and Out of the Woods, the novel The Good Brother, and the memoir The Same River Twice, lives in Iowa City, Iowa.
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