A Field Guide to the North American Family (Paperback)
For years, the Hungates and the Harrisons have coexisted peacefully in the same Long Island neighborhood, enjoying all the fruits--and temptations--their suburban habitat has to offer. But when the patriarch of one family dies unexpectedly, the survivors face a stark imperative: adapt or face extinction.
In 63 interlinked fictional vignettes and 63 accompanying photographs, Garth Risk Hallberg's literary debut cuts multiple paths through the lives of its characters. As readers reconstruct it--in any order--the fractured story of these two families becomes an improbable meditation on connection. Part postmodern experiment, part photo essay, part Choose Your Own Adventure, A Field Guide to the North American Family is an innovative and deeply personal addition to the lineage of the family novel.
"In this stunningly beautiful, cross-referenced exploration of suburban intimacy, the story of two struggling families emerges gradually, achingly--and never the same way twice. Hallberg's prose is lacquered and precise, and the kaleidoscope of collected images forms a shifting, luminous backdrop. A perfect marriage between sculptured form and wondrous content. Read it. Now."
Reif Larsen, author of The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet
"A Field Guide to the North American Family reads like magic, like a private book of spells meant to keep away all the things that have already happened; each word and image matters. It's a gorgeous labyrinth of a book."
Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances
About the Author
Garth Risk Hallberg is the author of the novella "A Field Guide to the North American Family" and was selected by Richard Bausch as one of 2008′s "Best New American Voices." His short stories have been published, most recently, in "Glimmer Train, Canteen, "and "The Pinch. "Essays have appeared in "Slate," "More Intelligent Life, "and the "Best of the Web" anthology." "A 2008 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Fiction, Garth teaches at Fordham University. He's finishing up his first novel and a story collection.