Prairie Silence: 1001 Ideas (Hardcover)

1001 Ideas

By Melanie M. Hoffert

Beacon Press (MA), 9780807044735, 238pp.

Publication Date: January 8, 2013



Melanie Hoffert longs for her rural North Dakotan home, with its grain trucks and empty main streets, but like many, she followed the out-migration pattern to a more urban life. She returns home during harvest to confront the silences that have kept her at an arm's length from her childhood community. In this evocative memoir Hoffert offers a deeply personal and poignant meditation on land and community, taking readers on a journey of self-acceptance and reconciliation.

About the Author

Melanie Hoffert is the author of "Prairie Silence: A Memoir." She grew up on a farm near Wyndmere, North Dakota, where she spent her childhood wandering gravel roads and listening to farmers at church potlucks. Her work has been published in several literary journals, and she holds an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University. Melanie lives in Minneapolis and works for Teach For America. Learn more about her work at

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Praise For Prairie Silence: 1001 Ideas

“A heartfelt coming-out story as well as an eloquent elegy to a rural way of life that is rapidly vanishing from the American landscape.” —Booklist
“In Prairie Silence, Melanie Hoffert shows how the landscapes of our childhood continue to speak to us, and through us, long after we’ve left them behind. In this beautifully written and deeply imagined memoir, Hoffert invites us back to her North Dakota farming community for a season of harvest, a personal journey of profound courage and grace.” —Judy Blunt, author of Breaking Clean
“Hoffert’s bittersweet and compelling memoir recalls her struggles at ending her silence and creating a fuller life for herself. She illuminates the quiet grace of the people and land she loves and mourns the passing of a way of life.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“The quiet, lyric prose of Melanie Hoffert’s Prairie Silence crept into my days, making it impossible for me to stop turning pages. This book is about looking for oneself in places we are so often afraid to venture. A beautiful debut from a brave new writer.” —Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance
“This is a gorgeous book that evokes quiet country mornings and loud self-examination. . . . If you once believed that you can’t truly ever go home again, Prairie Silence is a book you’ll be eager to read.” –Washington Blade
“A heartfelt love song to a place and its people as well as an honest and rewarding rendering of the author’s interior landscape.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Hoffert’s intimate memoir of place reveals a personal journey both fraught and wondrous, and a present reality of surprising richness.” —Patricia Weaver Francisco, author of Telling

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