cover of book

The Painted Forest
by Krista Eastman
West Virginia University Press, 2019
eISBN: 978-1-949199-20-8 | Paper: 978-1-949199-19-2
Library of Congress Classification PS3605.A855A6 2019
Dewey Decimal Classification 814.6


Council for Wisconsin Writers, Norbert Blei/August Derleth Nonfiction Book Award winner

In this often-surprising book of essays, Krista Eastman explores the myths we make about who we are and where we’re from. The Painted Forest uncovers strange and little-known “home places”—not only the picturesque hills and valleys of the author’s childhood in rural Wisconsin, but also tourist towns, the “under-imagined and overly caricatured” Midwest, and a far-flung station in Antarctica where the filmmaker Werner Herzog makes an unexpected appearance.

The Painted Forest upends easy narratives of place, embracing tentativeness and erasing boundaries. But it is Eastman’s willingness to play—to follow her curiosity down every odd path, to exude a skeptical wonder—that gives this book depth and distinction. An unlikely array of people, places, and texts meet for close conversation, and tension is diffused with art, imagination, and a strong sense of there being some other way forward. Eastman offers a smart and contemporary take on how we wander and how we belong.

Nearby on shelf for American literature / Individual authors / 2001-: