Synopses & Reviews
In Sleeping Arrangements, Laura Shaine Cunningham introduced us to her childhood self. Now she tells us what became of that little girl--and her lifelong quest to find the perfect country home.
“A pleasure to read…sharp and witty.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Cunningham chronicles her lifelong dream of owning a home in the country in this ode to all things green and earthy…She turns the tribulations of country living into hilarious and cautionary anecdotes. Read this because you want your own place in the country; read this before you own a place in the country.”—Booklist
“Cunningham recounts with wry humor her conversion from innocent newcomer to country sophisticate, a process that included raising chickens (whose eggs, she figured, cost her $25 a dozen), feeding two ornery goats and tending an ill-fated garden. Her pastoral life has been interrupted by serious illness, counterbalanced by her joy in adopting her two little girls. She passes quickly over the breakup of her marriage and concludes by describing her uneasy adjustment to new neighbors—a swami and his followers. Throughout, Cunningham’s lovely portrait of country scenes will engage readers who, like her, have dreamed of the glories of a rural retreat.”—Publishers Weekly
“Cunningham is interested in how a child’s experience shapes a woman’s life, as the orphan girl adopts orphan girls, the daughter of a cancer victim becomes a cancer victim herself, and the city kid fulfills a lifelong dream of rural domesticity…[This is] a voice well worth listening to, equally convincing for its range and its hard-won clarity.”—Chicago Tribune
“[Cunningham] waxes elegiac about the glories of nature…Wonderful images abound.” —Newsday
“By the end, readers know the author, a woman worth knowing, and share her sense of place and home.” —USA Today
“Lyrical…taps into every jaded urbanite’s fantasy of an idyllic country lifestyle.” —Harper’s Bazaar
“This addition to the dream-home genre is a breath of fresh air.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A wry, funny account of [Cunningham’s] lifelong case of country-house fever.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Told with candor and wit…A Place in the Country is a book that radiates a feeling of contentment…will tempt the reader to start looking for an old place of her own, an attempt to replicate the author’s particularly attractive brand of insanity.”—The Denver Post
“If this particular memoirist were offering up 287 pages on life in an auto parts dealership, you’d be well advised to accept…A Place in the Country starts with Cunningham’s early years, an extraordinary topic in itself and one she described in a previous memoir, the unforgettable Sleeping Arrangements. There’s an obvious danger in revisiting this material—it really is unforgettable—but this time the focus is on her youthful zeal for the outdoors, prompting a whole new flock of anecdotes…This book has a great deal of literary company these nowadays, including a spate of memoirs by writers who move to France or Italy and sit right down with their laptops under an olive tree to record their epiphanies. But Cunningham’s work has quite a different personality. It reminds me most of The Egg and I, Betty MacDonald’s account of following her new husband to a chicken ranch in the Olympic mountains. Unlike Cunningham, MacDonald hated every minute of her experience, but these two writers share much, including an excellent sense of the ridiculous and a solid antipathy for chickens. Published in 1945, The Egg and I remains a pleasure to read. Half a century from now, someone is sure to be saying the same thing about A Place in the Country.”—The New York Times Book Review
In "Sleeping Arrangements", the author introduced readers to her childhood self. Now, In "A Place in the Country", she explores her lifelong quest to find the perfect country home. "[A] lovely, bittersweet memoir".--"USA Today".
About the Author
Laura Shaine Cunningham is a playwright and journalist whose fiction and nonfiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Vogue, and Mirabella, among other publications. The recipient of numerous awards and fellowships for her writing and theatrical work, Cunningham divides her time between New York City and her "place in the country."