In this often-surprising book of essays, Krista Eastman explores the myths we make about who we are and where we’re from. The Painted Forest uncovers strange and little-known “home places”—not only the picturesque hills and valleys of the author’s childhood in rural Wisconsin, but also tourist towns, the “under-imagined and overly caricatured” Midwest, and a far-flung station in Antarctica where the filmmaker Werner Herzog makes an unexpected appearance.
The Painted Forest upends easy narratives of place, embracing tentativeness and erasing boundaries. But it is Eastman’s willingness to play—to follow her curiosity down every odd path, to exude a skeptical wonder—that gives this book depth and distinction. An unlikely array of people, places, and texts meet for close conversation, and tension is diffused with art, imagination, and a strong sense of there being some other way forward. Eastman offers a smart and contemporary take on how we wander and how we belong.
OUtstanding achievement awardfrom the wisconsin library association
From Publishers Weekly: “Eastman’s deep fascination with and love of her home state, in all its complexity and eccentricity, permeate this moving book and will live on in the reader’s mind.” Read the full review here.
From Zyzzyva: “The Painted Forest proves Eastman to be thoroughly acquainted with the world in which she lives; insatiably curious, she renders people and places in exquisite, elaborate detail.” Read the full review here.
From Rain Taxi: “Gorgeously written and meticulously researched, it would be perfect for lovers of creative nonfiction—especially those with an affinity for nature writing and ecocriticism. . . . A continuing tour led by a bright, fascinating guide who reminds us that adventure is born from the possibility of self-discovery.”