Melanie Hoffert reads from "Prairie Silence: A Memoir"
A North Dakota expatriate struggles to reconcile family, home, love, and faith with the silence of the prairie land and its people.
Melanie Hoffert longs for her North Dakota childhood home, with its grain trucks and empty main streets. A land where she imagines standing at the bottom of the ancient lake that preceded the prairie: crop rows become the patterned sand ripples of the lake floor; trees are the large alien plants reaching for the light; and the sky is the water's vast surface, reflecting the sun. Like most rural kids, she followed the out-migration pattern to a better life.
“Melanie Hoffert has written a gutsy, complicated book about the little town we both came from (but which she experienced in a much, much different way).”--Chuck Klosterman, author of Downtown Owl and Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs
The prairie is a hard place to stay--particularly if you are gay, and your home state is the last to know. For Hoffert, returning home has not been easy. While home, working alongside her dad in the shop and listening to her mom warn, "Honey, you do not want to be a farmer," Hoffert meets the people of the prairie. Her stories about returning home and exploring abandoned towns are woven into a coming-of-age tale about falling in love, making peace with faith, and belonging to a place where neighbors are as close as blood but are often unable to share their deepest truths.
Melanie Hoffert grew up on a farm near Wyndmere, North Dakota, where she spent her childhood wandering gravel roads, listening to farmers at church potlucks, and daydreaming about impossible love. She has an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University, and her work has appeared in Muse & Stone and The Mochila Review.