Halfway from Home: Essays
by Sarah Fawn Montgomery
publication date: November 8, 2022
—Named "2022 Impressive Indie Book" by Independent Book Review
—A 2022 Rumpus Prose Gift Guide selection
When she left a chaotic home at eighteen, Sarah Fawn Montgomery chased restlessness, claiming places on the West Coast, Midwest, and East Coast, while determined never to settle. But it is difficult to move forward when she longs for the past. Now her family is ravaged by addiction, illness, and poverty; the country is increasingly divided; and the natural worlds in which she seeks solace are under siege by wildfire, tornados, and unrelenting storms. Turning to nostalgia as a way to grieve a rapidly-changing world, Montgomery excavates the stories and scars we bury, unearthing literal and metaphorical childhood time capsules and treasures.
Blending lyric memoir with lamenting cultural critique, Montgomery examines contemporary longing and desire, sorrow and ache, searching for how to build a home when human connection is disappearing, and how to live meaningfully when our sense of self is uncertain in a fractured world. Taking readers from the tide pools and monarch groves of California, to the fossil beds and grass prairies of Nebraska, to the scrimshaw shops and tangled forests of Massachusetts, Montgomery holds a mirror up to America and asks us to reflect on our past before we run out of time to save our future. Halfway from Home grieves a vanishing world while offering—amidst emotional and environmental collapse—ways to discover hope, healing, and home.
Praise for Halfway From Home:
"In vivid, compelling prose, Sarah Fawn Montgomery explores nostalgia, restlessness, and a complexity of grief sparked by personal loss and a world that often seems constantly aflame."
—Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic & Desire
"Montgomery has written a gorgeous, deeply felt ode to the search for belonging, to the deeply human act of seeking to find a place we might call our own."
—Melissa Faliveno, author of Tomboyland
"Halfway from Home is a work of urgency, sensibility, and immediacy."
—Kwame Dawes, editor of Prairie Schooner
"Montgomery’s longing for a better place burns with a kind of brilliance only someone with such profound insight can set alight."
—Nicole Walker, author of Sustainability: A Love Story
"Halfway from Home is like the 'treasure hole' of Sarah Fawn Montgomery’s childhood—wondrous, surprising, crafted with generosity and care—a bounty born of deep excavation, as well as a deep connection with the earth itself."
—Gayle Brandeis, author of The Art of Misdiagnosis
“Simultaneously beautiful and tragic, nostalgic and despondent…Brilliant.”
“Insights, discovery, longing and revelation that is rooted in archaeology, geology, and the world of nature . . . one of the most compelling collections this year.”
—Midwest Book Review
Sarah Fawn Montgomery is the author of Quite Mad: An American Pharma Memoir (The Ohio State University Press, 2018) and three poetry chapbooks. She is an Assistant Professor at Bridgewater State University.