KDL Recommends > Staff Picks > March 2009
Returning to Earth: A Novel
Title: Returning to Earth: A Novel
Author: Jim Harrison
In the aftermath of a Chippewa-Finnish man’s death from Lou Gehrig’s disease, his wife, daughter, and brother-in-law read the family history he has left behind, study his philosophies about death, and struggle to redeem their own pasts.
Hailed by The New York Times Book Review as “a master … who makes the ordinary extraordinary, the unnamable unforgettable,” beloved author Jim Harrison returns with a masterpiece—a tender, profound, and magnificent novel about life, death, and finding redemption in unlikely places. Slowly dying of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Donald, a middle-aged Chippewa-Finnish man, begins dictating family stories he has never shared with anyone, hoping to preserve history for his children. The dignity of Donald’s death and his legacy encourages his loved ones to find a way to redeem—and let go of—the past, whether through his daughter’s emersion in Chippewa religious ideas or his mourning wife’s attempt to escape the malevolent influence of her own father. A deeply moving book about origins and endings, and how to live with honor for the dead, Returning to Earth is one of the finest novels of Harrison’s long, storied career, and will confirm his standing as one of the most important American writers now working.