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Close to Home: Revelations and Reminiscences by North Carolina Authors

Lee Harrison Child, editor

John F. Blair, Publisher
$13.95 paperback
6 x 9     
328 pages
Published in 1997

"I used to believe that any thoughts of home worth recording had to include suppertime, rocking chairs, family gatherings, dogs, and sunsets," notes Lee Harrison Child, former editor of NC Home magazine. "I don't anymore."

Jerry Bledsoe's thoughts of home set his stomach rumbling for barbecue and "fish camp" seafood, both served with that most modest accompaniment, slaw. His twenty fellow authors in Close to Home offer perspectives as varied as the writing that made them famous. Tim McLaurin describes his late-night ritual of closing up the house and checking on his children. Lee Smith examines her association with one of America's definitive college towns, and the haphazard process by which it becomes home. Fred Chappell contemplates his garden. Elizabeth Spencer recalls the "pure ozone" of the Smokies and her rescue from summer camp.

One of Child's favorite duties at NC Home was enlisting some of the South's finest authors to contribute to a column called "Writers Write." Later, judging the work "too good to let go with a single sighting," she decided to request essays from different writers and publish the collection in book form.

What unites the authors in Close to Home is a "willingness to be intimate" about home, a willingness "to tell us what they know of that place and how it makes them feel." Their essays are sometimes funny, sometimes moving, always insightful—but never predictable. As Child says, there's "not a rocking chair among them."



“I'm ordering what must be my fourth or fifth copy of this terrific little book. It's a comforting, warm, fuzzy, and sometimes-funny set of recollections sure to regenerate the reader's own memories of home. I try to keep a copy beside the bed in my guest room, but alas, my guests are always so taken with what they've read before turning out the light that I always have to say, ‘Just take my copy along with you. I'll get another.’ I've also given it to friends in the process of fighting terrible illnesses. They find peace in the authors' accounts, conjuring up their own memories of home.” —Amazon.com reviewer
“If this book of short stories does not make a former Tar Heel homesick, then I have not a clue as to what would . . . it made me want to go home immediately. The stories are funny, sad, and range in levels from wonderful to great. A librarian friend gave me this book and it is one of the best gifts I have ever received. I plan to purchase several to give as gifts. My home is now in California, but my heart will always be down home in North Carolina.” —Amazon.com reviewer