Gilmanton was briefly the most famous town in America. Today the town, nestled amongst the hills of central New Hampshire and along the curve of the Suncook River, is a microcosm of the changing ways and enduring values of rural life in the twenty-first century.
Driving Backwards is a poignant exploration of the vividness of the everyday. Across twenty years of summers, Jessica Lander has come to know Gilmanton and its residents. Valerie, who tends sixty-five goats, home-schools ten children and crafts artisanal goat cheese. Jim and Cheryl, who raise miniature horses, flocks of chickens and long-eared rabbits, all on two tiny acres. Duncan, a third generation farmer, who harvests thousands of pounds of wild blueberries every summer. Chuck, who runs a six-generation dairy farm.
Lander’s guide is David Bickford – a fireman, carpenter, town selectman and nearly one-hundred-year-old storyteller. Through richly observed portraits and elegant prose, Lander elevates the ordinary and encourages a deeper appreciation for the stories that surround us.
With grace, humor, affection and insight, Driving Backwards blends three hundred years of colorful history with the contemporary lives, seasonal rhythms and varied landscape of modern small-town America.
Awarded the 2015 bronze national medal for Creative Non-Fiction by the Independent Publisher Book Awards!