Publisher's Comments (cont.)
In 1959, Kevin Fenton was born on a family farm overlooking Rollingstone, Minnesota—a tight-knit village founded by Luxembourgers and so Catholic that the parish school was the only school in town. The farm, and Kevin’s memory, is filled with the closeness of his large family. Dennis, the oldest brother, drives everyone—rather dangerously—to school. His sisters dance to records in the afternoons. At bedtime, knock-knock jokes flow between the siblings’ rooms. Kevin has the powerful sense of being born lucky.
Soon, however, the farm is lost; the school closed; the family fractured. The family’s move from farm to city, while not all bad, leaves Kevin yearning for Rollingstone and the old family home. He begins a difficult search for new ways to define himself—in friendship, in art, in words—that lasts well into adulthood. His descent into alcoholism wakes him to the fact that the days on the farm, while no lighter in love, were not as rosy as he remembered. And while his losses are still grievous, he begins to see a circuit of possibilities.
Leaving Rollingstone, set in a time of major social change, is a portrait of the inevitability of loss and the power of choice, about how a big-city ad man and novelist reclaimed the enduring values and surprising vitality of his small-town boyhood.
Kevin Fenton, author of Merit Badges, which won the AWP Award for the Novel and the Friends of American Writers Award, works in advertising and teaches fiction. He lives in St. Paul.