Council for Wisconsin Writers, Norbert Blei/August Derleth Nonfiction Book Award winner
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.
About the Author
Krista Eastman's writing has earned recognition from Best American Essays and appeared in The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review (KROnline), New Letters, and other journals. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
"Thoughtful and elegant. . . . 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."
Joni Tevis, author of The World Is On Fire: Scrap, Treasure, and Songs of Apocalypse
Caryl Pagel, author of Twice Told
Meghan O'Gieblyn, author of Interior States
“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.”