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The Horizontal World

Growing Up Wild In the Middle of Nowhere

List Price: $15.95

June 5, 2007 | Paperback |  5.4 x 8, 304 Pages | ISBN 9781582433639
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"The author's elegant, understated sentences are as fertile as freshly tilled rows of loam." —New York Times

Debra Marquart grew up on a farm in rural North Dakota—on land her family had worked for generations. From the earliest age she knew she wanted out; surely life had more to offer than this unyielding daily grind, she thought. But she was never able to abandon it completely.

About Debra Marquart

DEBRA MARQUART is the coordinator of the Creative Writing Program at Iowa State University. She is the author of The Hunger Bone: Rock & Roll Stories, and the poetry collections Everything’s a Verb and From Sweetness. Marquart’s essays have appeared in Best American Essays, and she has won the Shelby Foote Nonfiction Prize (Faulkner Society), the Writer’s Digest Nonfiction Award, and a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Ames, Iowa.


“The author’s elegant, understated sentences are as fertile as freshly tilled rows of loam.” —New York Times

“[A] rich memoir, set in North Dakota, about growing up on and escaping from a family farm for a future that held once unheard-of opportunities as a rock musician, poet, and English teacher.” —Chicago Sun-Times

“Everything Marquart touches gains light and color, from the monotony of the work and the tactics she developed to avoid it to the land itself and the untold price her foremothers paid to settle it. All of her narrative’s wanderlust, however, brings her back to her father, sowing insight into his respect for her pursuit of a different life and her growing connection to how he lived his.” —Publishers Weekly

“Throughout this captivating memoir, Marquart helps the reader understand something of this rural phenomenon, as well as a great deal about herself.” —KLIATT

The Horizontal World reveals the depth of Marquart’s connection to her family’s multigenerational farm in North Dakota through a series of stories, each of them based on a powerful personal recollection. The stories most accessible to the reader are the ones in which Marquart’s character is brought strongly into the forefront, either as a recalcitrant kid, a wild teenager, or a mulish adult. Flashes of who she is now-a lyrical poet, writer, and teacher-are also apparent. Additionally, the book serves to chronicle the places that have rooted, and uprooted, the Marquart clan, and in this respect, works well as a memoir. When presented alone, the scientific and historical information used to offset Marquart’s personal narrative seems too studied. When elaborated upon-i.e., the consequences and context of bare-bones facts further imagined-they work to enrich this beautiful memoir.” —Library Journal

“A memoir in the tradition of William Least Heat-Moon and Larry Wiowode about growing up in rural North Dakota… Evocative, fresh and lovely…” —Kirkus

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