Sixteen nationally acclaimed authors reflect on how their Midwestern heritage has shaped their attitudes, values, and development as writers. From Kathleen Norris's thoughts on being a member of a literary culture outside of where "place can stick to us in western South Dakota", to Jon Hassler's remembrances of the houses of his childhood, Imagining Home begins at the real places of the Midwest and finishes with the locales that fill a writer's memories and desires.
Imagining Home centers on the premise that a sense of place is far more than a matter of geographical landscape, comprising instead a complex web of associations, human communities, history, spirituality, and memory. In untangling and reweaving these various strands, the authors consider that although the Upper Midwestern terrain is quite diverse, there is nonetheless a kind of cohesiveness - a lack of large urban centers, a low density of population - that makes the area almost invisible to itself.
These essays offer a chance to look at the way landscape plays a key role in the formation of imagination as well as to come to terms with the paradox of love and disdain for one's home place.