Take a small town, add a fresh voice,
mix in some truly memorable detail, and you have Driving Backwards.
Charming, vivid, informative, and a little bit scandalous,
it crosses Robert Frost with John McPhee—just marvelous.
Gish Jen – Author, most recently World and Town and Tiger Writing
A richly observed, witty, and lyrical evocation of small-town New England, Driving Backwards is a kind of jewel. Its many dazzling facets—its people, its places, its inventive and powerful prose, its enormous heart—bring life and light to a history and a present that is precious to all of us.
David Daniel – Poet, Former Poetry Editor of Ploughshares
Occasionally it happens: You don’t want a book to end. Usually it’s a novel, but non-fiction--memoir, biography--can grip and hold you, too. Jessica Lander’s Driving Backwards is a splice of memoir and collective biography, a portrait of Gilmanton, New Hampshire, briefly famous as the inspiration for “Peyton Place.” Lander’s family spent summers in Gilmanton, and over nearly twenty years she steeped her imagination in a town “thickly wooded with history.” Gilmanton recalls Grover’s Corners, the subject of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.” Love and marriage, death and memory, past and present--the immutable script of life. Driving Backwards delivers some of those same small-town, big-universe goods. I didn’t want it to end.
Jack Beatty – Author, Senior Editor, The Atlantic and NPR News Analyst