Why this book?
A lyrical and deeply intimate portrait of suburban Southern California in the Cold War. At once odd and beautiful, the book is a memoir, a history lesson, and an argument about how mere houses become homes all rolled into one tidy volume. Its publication nearly thirty years ago came as a surprise. Holy Land has continued to be a touchstone of the quieter and more contemplative aspects of life, family, and neighborhood in the often-overlooked ordinary places where love and loss happen just as often as they do anywhere else.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
Since its publication in 1996, Holy Land has become an American classic. In "quick, translucent prose" (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times) that is at once lyrical and unsentimental, D. J. Waldie recounts growing up in Lakewood, California, a prototypical post-World War II suburb. Laid out in 316 sections as carefully measured as a grid of tract houses, Holy Land is by turns touching, eerie, funny, and encyclopedic in its handling of what was gained and lost when thousands of blue-collar families were thrown together in the suburbs of the 1950s. An intensely realized and wholly original memoir about the way…