Winner of the 2002 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize
Synopses & Reviews
When work took Tracy Daugherty from his familys roots in Oklahoma to the unfamiliar landscape of Oregon, his move mirrored the western migrations of so many earlier Oklahomans devastated and displaced during the Dust Bowl years. Deeply unsettled by the change in his surroundings and shaken by the recent Oklahoma City bombing, Daugherty took the opportunity provided by his own journey to explore the shattering and rebuilding of community in the America of today and yesterday.
Speaking with survivors of the Murrah building bombing, revisiting his roots, and retracing the paths of exile and migration in the American West, Daugherty creates a diverse and heartfelt portrait of America in an uncertain time its people, its politics, its music, and its poetry a sobering but ultimately hopeful view of the national community. At heart an exploration, from an intimate vantage point, of the consequences of violence in contemporary America, Five Shades of Shadow will hold special resonance for readers struggling to come to terms with trauma and loss.
"Daugherty...juxtaposes his personal and family history against the backdrop of the events surrounding the Oklahoma City bombing to reveal the grief of the survivors as well as the community....The most powerful of these essays...beautifully illustrates how literature can change a person's life." Library Journal
"These essays powerfully chart the intersection between place and character, hope and grief. They courageously open themselves to question after question; and the sum total of all these speculations, observations, insights, doubts and eavesdroppings is an uncanny portrait of the America we live in right now, for better or worse." Phillip Lopate, author of The Art of the Personal Essay
"Daugherty writes with a deep conviction, and the truths he offers are evidence of his journey toward an understanding of the personal, social, and cultural forces which have shaped his life. But this is more than a story of individual self-resolution: it is the narrative of an entire country coming to grips with its own inner demons." Kim Barnes, author of Hungry for the World: A Memoir
Includes bibliographical references (p. -286).
About the Author
Tracy Daugherty is the author of three novels, including What Falls Away and The Boy Orator, and two short story collections. He is a professor of English and director of the program in creative writing at Oregon State University and is a faculty member of the program for writers at Warren Wilson College.