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Call Me Home has an epic scope in the tradition of Louise Erdrich’s The Plague of Doves or Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping and braids the stories of a family in three distinct voices: Amy, who leaves her Texas home at 19 to start a new life with a man she barely knows, and her two children, Jackson and Lydia, who are rocked by their parents’ abusive relationship. When Amy is forced to bargain for the safety of one child over the other, she must retrace the steps in the life she has chosen. Jackson, 18 and made visible by his sexuality, leaves home and eventually finds work on a construction crew in the Idaho mountains, where he begins a potentially ruinous affair with Don, the married foreman of his crew. Lydia, his 12-year-old sister, returns with her mother to Texas, struggling to understand what she perceives to be her mother’s selfishness. At its heart, this is a novel about family, our choices and how we come to live with them, what it means to be queer in the rural West, and the changing idea of home.
I find it hard to talk about Megan Kruse's Call Me Home because in my mind anyway it doesn't feel so much like a book I read, it feels like something that happened, something that happened to people I knew. While I watched, helpless, full of love and fear, as they went through terrible and beautiful things. This is a devastating and precise portrayal of everything we mean when we say the word "family." I know these characters now. The child struggling to make sense of her parents' abusive relationship. The young man, isolated, angry, awkwardly stumbling through his first love as a gay man in the rural northwest. The mother desperate to protect her children, with the ability to only escape with one. And I know these characters because Megan has made me know them, revealing with startling clarity more and more layers until I find the same pride, and love, and fear, and shame that I find when I look inside myself. So I return to her book the way I might to an old friend with whom I've shared much. Call Me Home made me feel very deeply, and I'm better for it.