Book Talk/Signing: John Lingan - HOMEPLACE
Homeplace is an intimate account of country music, social change, and a vanishing way of life as a Shenandoah town collides with the twenty-first century. When John Lingan first traveled to Winchester, Virginia, it was to seek out Jim McCoy: local honky-tonk owner and the DJ who first gave airtime to a brassy-voiced singer known as Patsy Cline, setting her on a course for fame that outlasted her tragically short life. What Lingan found was a town in the midst of an identity crisis. Homeplace teases apart the tangle of class, race, and family origin that still defines the town, and illuminates questions that now dominate our national conversation—about how we move into the future without pretending our past doesn't exist, about what we salvage and what we leave behind.
“You end Homeplace thinking that every American town could use a book like this one written about it; every town could afford to be this lovingly but critically seen. Like many of the best country songs, the book is sentimental in a way that makes you wonder why sentiment is such a dirty word.”
—New York Times Book Review
“John Lingan writes in penetrating, soulful ways about the intersection between place and personality, individual and collective, spirit and song.”
—Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams and The Recovering
“Homeplace is a magnificent work, new school journalism with old school heart. The combination of intellectual integrity and human curiosity, human compassion, is as intoxicating as it is educational. This is a book in service of place and time, which is to say, literature.”
—Rick Bass, author of The Traveling Feast
“Some of the best histories of America are those told in miniature: a forgotten landmark, a local celebrity, a small town in transition. John Lingan's Homeplace is all of that and more: a perfectly rendered elegy for an iconic music venue that tells a much larger story: how our dreams, desperation and hope become transcribed in the landscape that surrounds us and embedded in the songs we pass down as our legacy.”
—Colin Dickey, author of Ghostland
“John Lingan writes movingly about places that are just up the road yet seem impossibly distant to many. Homeplace offers a vivid portrait of a disappearing America, and a hope that the barriers that divide us can be breached by listening to other people's stories.”
—Peter Manseau, author of The Apparitionists
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
JOHN LINGAN has written for the Oxford American, BuzzFeed, Pacific Standard, New York Times Magazine, Atlantic, Slate, New Republic, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other publications. He spent four years reporting and writing HOMEPLACE, his first book.
An intimate account of country music, social change, and a vanishing way of life as a Shenandoah town collides with the twenty-first century
Winchester, Virginia is an emblematic American town.