Bottomland by Michelle Hoover is the 2017 All Iowa Reads title. The announcement was made by Helen Dagley, Iowa Center for the Book Coordinator, at Friday’s Iowa Library Association Conference luncheon.
Based on a real life story of the author's grandmother, the book begins in Iowa in the wake of World War I. It was described in the Minneapolis Star Tribune as "a mystery wrapped in isolation and ethnic fear ... an atmospheric and engaging tale."
The Iowa Center for the Book’s All Iowa Reads program fosters a sense of unity through reading. Iowans are encouraged to come together in their communities to read and talk about a single book title in the same year. Libraries, book clubs, schools and other local organizations are encouraged to sponsor discussions of the title.
A webinar will be held in January to launch the 2017 All Iowa Reads program and provide resources for hosting discussions of the book. This year, Michelle Hoover, the author herself, will join us “on screen” to talk about her novel and the themes it contains.
Also announced at the conference luncheon, Perry Public Library will receive ten copies of Bottomland. The library won the drawing for the set for hosting a 2016 All Iowa Reads discussion of Marilynne Robinson’s Lila and submitting the event to the Iowa Center for the Book’s Literary Events Calendar. Libraries can submit their 2017 events at www.iowacenterforthebook.org/air/register-all-iowa-reads-events to be eligible for a set of the 2018 title.
About the Author
Michelle Hoover is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University and teaches at GrubStreet, where she leads the Novel Incubator program. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Award. She is a native of Iowa and lives in Boston.
At once intimate and sweeping, Bottomland--the anticipated second novel from Michelle Hoover--follows the Hess family in the years after World War I as they attempt to rid themselves of the Anti-German sentiment that left a stain on their name. But when the youngest two daughters vanish in the middle of the night, the family must piece together what happened while struggling to maintain their life on the unforgiving Iowa plains.
In the weeks after Esther and Myrle's disappearance, their siblings desperately search for the sisters, combing the stark farmlands, their neighbors' houses, and the unfamiliar world of far-off Chicago. Have the girls run away to another farm? Have they gone to the city to seek a new life? Or were they abducted? Ostracized, misunderstood, and increasingly isolated in their tightly-knit small town in the wake of the war, the Hesses fear the worst. Told in the voices of the family patriarch and his children, this is a haunting literary mystery that spans decades before its resolution. Hoover deftly examines the intrepid ways a person can forge a life of their own despite the dangerous obstacles of prejudice and oppression.
For more information on the All Iowa Reads program, go to www.iowacenterforthebook.org/air/home.
For more information about author Michelle Hoover and Bottomland, visit her website at www.michelle-hoover.com/bottomland/.