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Returning to Earth by Jim Harrison
With Returning to Earth, Jim Harrison returns to a family in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan he first introduced in his novel True North. Donald, who was a teenager in the earlier book, is a mixed breed of Chippewa and Finnish, and he's dying of an aggressive form of ALS - Lou Gehrig's disease. He's joined by his wife, Cynthia, who is battling the trauma of her own brutal family, his two children, and different friends. Donald decides he must tell them of his past, so that they know his story before he dies. Other characters narrate their parts of the story. Donald's daughter digs into his Chippewa past in a desperate to find something that might save him. Returning to Earth has received glowing reviews with the San Diego Union-Tribune saying, "Returning to Earth is, in other words, a prodigious achievement. It is both familiar and strange, rooted and rootless, endlessly dark and occasionally hilarious. It is above all human: raucous, literary, bawdy, goofy and wise. It is heartbreakingly sad. And it registers the redemption of love, the power of the word to speak the truth, the peace that comes to those who live even when it is time to die."