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Temporary Homelands

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Poet-essayist Alison Hawthorne Deming is a skilled naturalist and chronicler of the lives of wild, distinctive places. As she suggests, people’s own lives are temporary and should not compromise the longevity of the homelands they borrow to inhabit. In TEMPORARY HOMELANDS, she writes passionately about relationships of every kind: family, place, politics, and wildlife. She reflects on the harmony nature sustains and on the discord American culture has created. Part 1 follows an often troubled notebook through descriptions of a remote Canadian island, the author’s old family cottage, and memories of summers she spent in girlhood, clam-digging and roaming the desolate seaward cliffs. Part 2 examines the author’s coming of age in a compelling description of her 1960’s Vermont homestead, where she lived poor through her twenties with her baby daughter. Another essay tells the...

(The entire section is 274 words.)