Synopses & Reviews
For two decades following his winning the Pulitzer Prize for Elbow Room,
James Alan McPherson retreated from the literary world while he held a teaching position at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.
Written during this time spent teaching, A Region Not Home: Reflections from Exile is a deft collection of McPherson's brilliantly composed essays that cover a broad spectrum of his intellectual pursuits. They offer poignant and lively interpretations of life that, placed side-by-side, create a medium through which the sublime speaks to the ordinary -- and the ordinary to the sublime. McPherson writes of the longing of the human soul by unifying thoughts of his deep affection for his daughter and the meaning of Disneyland; transcendental meanings in life and the tedium of long waits in airports; coming to self-knowledge and the cruel rituals of fraternity pledge week.
McPherson combines his past with his present by writing of such people and places as Ralph Ellison, a friend and source of inspiration; James O. Freedman, former president of Dartmouth College and crusader against the conservative Dartmouth Review; Rachel, his daughter; Morris Brown College, his alma mater; El Camino Real, the main thoroughfare of affluent Palo Alto, California; and Iowa City, a place he holds close to his heart.
McPherson's prose uncovers his profound understanding of the ebb and flow of life's sorrows and delights and reveals his search for connections between everyday drudgery and a greater sense of purpose. Reaching every note on the register of human emotions, A Region Not Home is a meditation on what it means to be human -- an enlightening and soulful work reaching to the core of suffering and joy.
About the Author
James Alan Mcpherson is the author of Crabcakes, Hue and Cry, Railroad, and Elbow Room, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1978. His essays and short stories have appeared in numerous periodicals-including the New York Times Magazine, Esquire, the Atlantic Monthly, Newsday, Ploughshares, the Iowa Review, and Double-Take -- and anthologies such as volumes of The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Essays, and O. Henry Prize Stories. McPherson has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Prize Fellows Award. He is currently a professor of English at the Iowa Writers' Workshop in Iowa City.
Table of Contents
On Becoming an American Writer
Foreword to the Collected Stories of Breece Pancake
El Camino Real
"It Is Good to Be Shifty in a New Country"
The Done Thing
Three Great Ones of the City and One Perfect Soul: Well Met at Cyprus
Junior and John Doe
Workshopping Lucius Mummius