Sarah Smarsh with Mary Ann Gwinn
Also hewing to Labor Day proximity, an evening that would be timely whenever she might be here, is this visit by Kansas journalist Sarah Smarsh for her acclaimed first book, Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth (newly in paper, Scribner). A finalist for the National Book Award and the Kirkus Prize, listed as a Best Book of 2018, by NPR, and many publications, this is an invaluable book for our time.
"A deeply humane memoir that crackles with clarifying insight, Heartland is one of a growing number of important works – including Matthew Desmond’s Evicted and Amy Goldstein’s Janesville – that together merit their own section in nonfiction aisles across the country: America’s postindustrial decline. . . . With deft primers on the Homestead Act, the farming crisis of the ‘80s, and Reaganomics, Smarsh shows how the false promise of the ‘American dream’ was used to subjugate the poor. It’s a powerful mantra." —New York Times Book Review.
“Sarah Smarsh—tough-minded and rough-hewn—draws us into the real lives of her family, barely making it out there on the American plains. There’s not a false note. Smarsh, as a writer, is Authentic with a capital A .… This is just what the world needs to hear.” —George Hodgman (George Hodgman, RIP).