A Field Guide to the North American Family
Garth Risk Hallberg
- Page Count: 144
- Size: 7 x 9 inches
- Format: paperback
- Publication Date: April 2011
- Price: $18.95
- ISBN: 978-1-9356132-4-4
In the insightful illustrated novel A Field Guide to the North American Family, connected vignettes tell the story of neighboring Long Island families the Hungates and the Harrisons. Using what Rief Larsen calls “a perfect marriage between sculptured form and wondrous content,” A Field Guide to the North American Family turns the process of making and reading a book on its head. Author Garth Risk Hallberg gathered the striking images accompanying the text from forty-seven friends, strangers, and professionals. Taking cues from Julio Cortazar’s story “Hopscotch” and the Choose Your Own Adventure series, the introduction urges readers to navigate the book however they wish—whether sequentially, by following cross-references, or at random—as pieces of the story come together unexpectedly and newly with each read.
Through sixty-three entries that hover between scientific definition and prose poem, the families’ histories and tragedies unfold in settings like the backyard swimming pool and the school parking lot. Hallberg captures his specimens as only a true expert of human relationships could—with empathy, melancholy, and humor. His essays have been featured in The Late American Novel (Softskull Press 2011), Slate, The Los Angeles Times: Jacket Copy, More Intelligent Life, and The Millions, where he is a staff writer. He has had stories in Glimmer Train, Canteen, and The Pinch, among others.
Check out the hardcover edition of A Field Guide to the North American Family here.