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In the early 1970s, Tarn Wilson's father quit his job as the Brookings Institution's first computer programmer, packed his family into a converted school bus with "Such Nixon" painted on the side, and headed for the Canadian wilderness. He planned to give his two young children an Edenic childhood, free from the shadows of war, materialism, and middle class oppression. Between each lyric chapter, told from a child's point of view, Wilson incorporates "artifacts" that reveal larger cultural forces shaping her parents' decisions: letters, photographs, timelines, newspaper clippings, excerpts from radical approaches to child rearing. In the space between the child's vision and the adult context, readers are invited to consider the gifts and burdens of a counterculture childhood.
Interview. "Tarn Wilson on writing memoir, understanding our parents, and her book "The Slow Farm," Ginny Moyer's blog Random Acts of Momness.
Article. "Hippies and Draft Dodgers." Texada Heritage Society, Musings.
Praise for The Slow Farm:
"Tales of her youthful fits and starts could spark nostalgia even in those who didn't grow up romping around in the woods with near complete freedom."
"Tarn Wilson's new book The Slow Farm is a vivid and engaging account of Texada's 'back-to-the-land' lifestyle as seen through the eyes of a little girl who grew up here."
Peter Lock, Texada Historical Society
Tarn Wilson deftly turns memoir into an interactive project. "
Judith Kitchen, author of five books and winner of two Pushcart Prizes, the Lillian Fairchild Award, the Anhinga Prize, and an NEA fellowship.
"Because words, for Wilson, are palpable forces, talismanic devices, and sensuous objects, she is able to create a meditative/poetic space wherein one might experience, not merely read about, the pulse, scent and heartbeat of one family--and one woman's--ethos."
Lia Purpura, author of Rough Likeness, On Looking, and Increase.
"As Tarn Wilson fingers "little beads of memory," she creates a textured memoir of a childhood that captures the zeitgeist of the 60s from a child's point of view. In a pastiche of forms--from narrative, to myth, to historical record, to emails--Wilson draws her reader in to consider what happens when idealism meets reality of our "flawed and lovely world."
Brenda Miller, author of Listening Against the Stone, Blessing of
the Animals, Seasons of the Body and Tell it Slant: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Nonfiction.
What makes this book truly remarkable is the absence of the adult world and its accompanying interventions of limit, which Tarn repeatedly returns to in order to make larger investigations of the natural world, the very fragile mores of the counter-culture, and the family history that follows . . . The Slow Farm is finally a meditation on absence, and a reflection on dissolution. It is a book I read straight through.
John W. Evans, author of Young Widower and Consolations.