Braiding the stories of a family in three distinct voices, 5 Under 35 Honoree Megan Kruse crafts a novel about family, our choices and how we come to live with them, what it means to be queer in the rural West, and the changing idea of home.
Megan Kruse’s first novel startles in its capacity for complexity, showing not only the tempestuous nature of family love, but also the near-impossible task of breaking free of it ... The passages in Silver are some of the most compelling in the narrative, Jackson’s loneliness surrounded by dark mountains and cigarette smoke, wondering where his mother and sister are and how he could have betrayed them ... A blistering story of lightness and darkness, the power of family and the capacity we have to hurt those closest to us.
...the book is non-linear and almost dream-like, flashing in and out of the main narrative to build an uncomfortable family history ... Watchful Lydia is arguably the star of the novel and her passages are gorgeously smart and sad, but Jackson’s chapters garner the most time, and his story is an intriguing one ... The novel is structured circularly, and this makes sense, given that over the course of its progression, the idea of return grows stronger and stronger ... Kruse can craft a fine sentence, and her maneuvers are subtle, almost too much so. There are times where the characters skate away from confrontation, leaving the reader wondering what more could be told ... Call Me Home has a few slow spots, but Kruse’s skillful language and unusual story construction make for an intriguing meditation on safety, survival, love, and the bonds of blood.
The pendulum of storytelling from the present to the past creates a retrospective and also prospective view: We see the isolated, escaping, guilt-ridden Amy, endlessly chivying the details of when things went wrong; and then we see the young and hopeful Amy in her new marriage, with her life before her. The chasm between her older and younger selves is heart-wrenching, though she never loses her belief that a hopeful life beckons them all ... Lydia’s first-person voice casually reveals how she has been watching for most of her life, listening to how her parents drive into the driveway, waiting for the violence. It is no small feat for Kruse to handle memory and reflection in each of her characters’ lives in different ways ... Two scenes contain jarring remnants of draft writing ... But Kruse’s prose is vivid, precise and promising.