“Rarely has a collection of essays assembled over decades felt this unified, this consistent in voice. Fenton Johnson has taken the measure of his experience and the jangled world around him with honesty, clarity, great-heartedness and thoughtfulness. Plus, he writes beautiful sentences.”
— Phillip Lopate
Part retrospective, part memoir, Fenton Johnson’s collection Everywhere Home: A Life in Essays explores sexuality, religion, geography, the AIDS crisis, and more. Johnson’s wanderings take him from the hills of Kentucky to those of San Francisco, from the streets of Paris to the sidewalks of Calcutta. Along the way, he investigates questions large and small: What’s the relationship between artists and museums, illuminated in a New Guinean display of shrunken heads? What’s the difference between empiricism and intuition?
The collection draws together essays that originally appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times, All Things Considered and elsewhere, along with new work. Johnson reports from the front lines of the AIDS epidemic, from Burning Man, from monasteries near and far. His subject matter ranges from Oscar Wilde to censorship in journalism to Kentucky basketball.
“With a deft hand and trained ear for storytelling, he explores growing up Catholic in Kentucky, the complex nature of same-gender eros, and the desire to belong. . . . These essays trust in the power of communication to build the capacity for change.” Read full review.
— Publishers Weekly
“A writer with deep Appalachian roots rehearses his life story, positioning it under the most exacting of microscopes. . . . In taut, sometimes-tense prose, Johnson shows us so many varieties of human pain as well as many glimmers of hope.” Read full review.
— Kirkus Review