What does it mean to deeply love a home place that haunts us still? From Mark Twain to Grant Wood to Garrison Keillor, regionalists from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age have explored the American Gothic and the homegrown fatalism that flourishes in many of the nation’s most far-flung and forgotten places. The Haunt of Home introduces us to a cast of real-life midwestern characters grappling with the Gothic in their own lives, from promising young professionals debating the perennial “should I stay or should I go now” dilemma, to recent emigres and entrepreneurs seeking personal reinvention, to faithful boosters determined to keep their communities alive despite the odds. In The Haunt of Home Zachary Michael Jack considers the many ways a region’s abiding spirit shapes the ethos of a land and its people, offering portraits of others who, like himself, are determined to live out the unique promise and predicament of the Gothic.
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“Jack makes a persuasive and elegant argument for the Middle American Gothic, detailed by writers and artists native to the region. Repression, hypocrisy, and empty righteousness play out in the wide-open landscape, pitted against the human inclination for passion. Much of this book rings true.”
Maurice Manning, author of Railsplitter