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Prairie Silence: A Memoir | [Melanie M. Hoffert]

Prairie Silence: A Memoir

Melanie Hoffert longs for her rural North Dakota home with its grain trucks and empty main streets. But like many, she followed the out-migration pattern to a more urban life. When she returns home during harvest to confront the silences that have kept her at arm’s length from her childhood community, she finds it’s not easy. When asked if she's found a “fella,” rather than explain that she dates women, she stops breathing and changes the subject.
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Publisher's Summary

A rural expatriate’s struggle to reconcile family, home, love, and faith with the silence of the prairie land and its people.

Melanie Hoffert longs for her rural North Dakota home with its grain trucks and empty main streets. But like many, she followed the out-migration pattern to a more urban life. When she returns home during harvest to confront the silences that have kept her at arm’s length from her childhood community, she finds it’s not easy. When asked if she's found a “fella,” rather than explain that she dates women, she stops breathing and changes the subject.

In this evocative memoir, Hoffert offers a deeply personal and poignant meditation on land and community, taking listeners on a journey of self-acceptance and reconciliation.

©2013 Melanie M. Hoffert (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“The author’s mostly quiet narrative includes a wealth of haunting images and ideas that will linger long after the last sentence. A heartfelt love song to a place and its people as well as an honest and rewarding rendering of the author’s interior landscape.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“The quiet, lyric prose of Melanie Hoffert’s Prairie Silence crept into my days, making it impossible for me to stop turning pages. This book is about looking for oneself in places we are so often afraid to venture. A beautiful debut from a brave new writer.” (Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance)

"Melanie Hoffert has written a gutsy, complicated book about the little town we both came from (but which she experienced in a much, much different way).” (Chuck Klosterman, author of Downtown Owl and The Visible Man)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (16 )
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3.7 (13 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Susie Santa Cruz, CA, United States 01-15-13
    Susie Santa Cruz, CA, United States 01-15-13 Member Since 2012

    I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South."

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Expatriate from the Rural American Prairie"

    This memoir speaks to anyone who left “back there” for the big city, but realizes they never quite got away.

    A gay woman, who was never seen by anyone in her small North Dakota town as anything but a cipher, finally leaves her claustrophobic but compelling rural life behind for downtown Minneapolis.

    Now, years later, she wants to go back home to visit. Everyone from her childhood asks her if she’s found a “fella” yet. Cue the sweaty palms and abrupt subject changes.

    Magnificent writing. You’ll understand the true meaning of “prairie silence” in the first chapter.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Sanchez USA 03-22-13
    A. Sanchez USA 03-22-13 Member Since 2002

    Shepherd

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    "Nice Scenery"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I think I would add more action. It is a narration. A drawing of words. A still piece, but pretty. Personally though, I would have like to see more Vincent Van Gogh in this bit of writing.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    I really didn't like this book. It moved too slow. Too much narration


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    I am not sure if there was a lot you could do with this book, but the narrator put me to sleep. I got through 3/4 of the book and then laid it to rest.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    If I need a sleeping pill, go see the movie.It would be healthier than the sleeping pill.


    Any additional comments?

    I like narrations that paint pictures of small towns, small settings, but as much as I tried to see the beautiful scenery, it just was too boring for me. I couldn't finish it as a result.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Windham, ME, United States 02-27-13
    Karen Windham, ME, United States 02-27-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Great performance, but terrible story."
    What would have made Prairie Silence better?

    Felt like we spent hours talking about the land... and religion. Not quite what I was looking for. Seemed to carry on and on... Didn't end up finishing it but listened to 3/4 before I stopped, waiting for it to get good...


    What aspect of Abby Craden’s performance would you have changed?

    Abby Craden is wonderful to listen to.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heidi Arapahoe, NE, United States 03-16-13
    Heidi Arapahoe, NE, United States 03-16-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Great story!"
    What did you love best about Prairie Silence?

    I loved the connection to the Midwest rural lifestyle. Many of our families are separated when rural America doesn't accept our kids.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Melanie, of course, was my favorite. Her journey through adolescence and young adulthood was so familiar to all of us.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I didn't have any extreme reactions. I have a child who is gay, who has fewer complications in city living than with us in the Midwest. We love him like we love our own lives, and can't imagine treating him any differently than any other members of our family.


    Any additional comments?

    I would suggest this book to others who want to learn to love.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-4 of 4 results
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  • mucklewick
    Knighton, United Kingdom
    1/6/14
    Overall
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    "Interesting view, but a wrong fact at least once"

    If you are after a romance novel this isn't for you. Overall I enjoyed the book, there were a couple of little issues I had with it though.

    One was the mention of Jane Goodall studying Gorillas. Sorry, that was Dian Fossey - Jane Goodall is Chimpanzees. Might seem like a minor fault, but it is a big difference in the zoological world. Not hard to have checked that fact.

    It had me wondering what other facts might also be wrong with the story, and that is a shame.

    I also found the constant ruminating about the Christian angle might have been a bit too much. The story could have told the same tale, but without so much theological debate. At times it didn't seem like a story about growing up gay in a rural community, but as a teenager working out their Christian faith. I can see that putting a lot of people off the book.

    However, if you don't mind a look at how life in a small community can affect your life as you grow up, this is a decent book to listen to or read.

    Narrator did a pretty good job. in fact, of the books I've heard her do I think this was her best effort.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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