The Painted Forest
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.
Krista Eastman is the author of The Painted Forest, which Poets & Writers named one of the best literary nonfiction debuts of 2019. Her essays have been named Notable in Best American Essays and published in The Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, and Witness, among others. She was born and raised in the Driftless hills of Wisconsin. After living in Senegal, France, Antarctica, and the eastern U.S., she returned to Wisconsin where she now lives with her husband and young son. She’s working on a new book called Pionier.