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What if Ann Patchett wrote a novel about cam girls? On Home chronicles three generations of women, each leaving Appalachia to find a new life, each pulled back to the land they know.
When tragedy strikes, Cassidy, a cam girl living in Southern California, must return to the small West Virginia town she left behind. Cassidy likes her job getting naked for men on camera, though she prefers sex with women. She never came out to her family or friends back in her home state—not about her sexuality and certainly not about her sex work. Now, she must figure out how to hold on to the life she’s built for herself while picking up the pieces of her fractured family.
As Cassidy's story unfolds, we glimpse into the lives of the strong, complicated women who came before her: Jane, the sheltered daughter of farmers, escapes West Virginia for Washington, DC to work as a Government Girl for the FBI during World War II, until a fateful mistake threatens her future. Paloma, a Fulbright Scholar, journeys to newly Westernized Prague—only to fall for an idealistic but safe man from West Virginia.
Though worlds and generations apart, all three search for meaning as they face impending motherhood and the pull to return home to rural Appalachia.
A Note From the Publisher
On Home explores the nuances of online sex work with unabashed curiosity: though a burgeoning industry, very few fiction books explore sex work, and even fewer treat online sex work as legitimate. That tension triumphs in this novel.
The young protagonist's journey highlights the complexities of coming out in different geographic and relationship spaces as well as the notion that being open about one's sexuality includes more than one's place on the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
The novel offers a timely addition to an Appalachian literature renaissance spurred by backlash to JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, especially with a focus on tolerance of the “other” in the American south.
The novel embraces timelessly complicated feelings about home: On Home is both a love letter to West Virginia and an honest exploration of the suffocating insularity sometimes inherent in small-town America.
On Home offers immersive historical detail: two of the three narratives are inspired by first-hand sources of two distinct historical moments—the Government Girls of World War II and early 1990s Prague after the fall of the Soviet Union.
"On Home artfully complicates the familiar Appalachian escape narrative with characters whose experiences of home, like that of love, are in the choosing." —Jessie Van Eerden, Author of Call It Horses, Winner of the 2019 Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction
“A story about the joy found in the present moment. From embracing the anchor of unconditional love. And ultimately, from becoming part of the shared history that makes a place truly our home.” —Donna Meredith, Associate Editor of Southern Literary Review