To create a thing gritty and uncompromising that is simultaneously gentle and full of grace, that takes a writer with a certain prowess, a specific amount of heart and skill pumping from her fingers. I have never read Megan Kruse before, but after finishing Call Me Home, I have an official crush on her brain.
Call Me Home blends the perspectives of a mother and her two children, as they each transform themselves into the individuals they roll into after leaving an abusive husband and father in a cold trailer in a forest far from town. Through unflinching narrative, we swallow the grief and shame of each character, as well as the ache and reach. It is captivating, the sentences sometimes so beautiful they require re-reads, but not in a way that slows or hinders the unfolding of the story. Her imagery is masterful, full of sensorial wizardry:
“He kept having little boy thoughts, his half-drunk mind — how do they make a town? Where do the families come from? But still how goddamn weird that you could take a patch of silt and stilt it up and hem it in, sew it like a glove — the lake’s fingers, the palm of calm water, the wrist of the lake spilling down dark mountains.”
I ended my time with this debut novel knowing Amy and Lydia and Jackson, as though I was a confidant or a co-worker of each of them. I feel I will remember them, look back on them, in the same way I think of Frank, a maintenance man running from the law, with whom I shared coffee each morning one summer in Alaska. They meant something to me, something I will put on a shelf in my chest to remember.
I recommend Call Me Home wholly.
Buy Call Me Home, published by Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts here.
Megan Kruse is a fiction and creative nonfiction writer from the Pacific Northwest. She studied creative writing at Oberlin College and earned her MFA at the University of Montana, where she was awarded a Bertha Morton scholarship. Her creative writing has appeared in Narrative Magazine, The Sun Witness Magazine, Thumbnail Magazine, Bellingham Review, and Phoebe, among others.
Review by Brandi Dawn Cornelius.