May 4, 2021
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v2.1 Reference

Gone the Hard Road

A Memoir

"Count your blessings," his mother told him, "Think of everything good in your life."

Pulitzer Prize finalist Lee Martin has done it again. Building from his acclaimed first memoir, From Our House, which recounts the farming accident that cost his father both his hands, Gone the Hard Road is the story of Beulah Martin's endurance and sacrifice as a mother, and the gift of imagination she offered her son. Martin unfolds the world she created for him within their unsettled family life, from the first time she read to him in a doctor's office waiting room, to enrolling him in a children's book club, to the books she bought him in high school. Gone the Hard Road portrays Beulah's selflessness as the family moved around the Midwest, sometimes in the face of her husband's opposition, to show her son a different way of being. Rather than concentrate on the life his father threatened to destroy, as Martin's previous memoirs do, Gone the Hard Road offers the counternarrative of a loving mother and the creative life she made possible, in spite of the eventual cost to herself.

A poignant, honest, and moving read, Gone the Hard Road will stay with anyone who has ever struggled to find their place in the world.

About the Author

Lee Martin is the author of many novels, including The Bright Forever, a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. He is also author of Yours, Jean; The Mutual UFO Network; and Late One Night, among others. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in such places as Harper'sCreative Nonfiction, and The Best American Essays. Winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, the 2006 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council, Martin teaches in the MFA Program at The Ohio State University, where he is a College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor.


"In stunning, lyrical language, Gone the Hard Road nostalgically evokes the midwestern childhood of a bright, sensitive boy faced with pain and beauty in equal measure. With an unflinching look at the enduring bonds of love in the face of shattering hardship, Martin reveals 'all the ways [we] reinvent ourselves when trouble comes.'"—Kristen Iversen, editor of The Cincinnati Review

"A haunting and hypnotic memoir by one of our finest storytellers. What I find remarkable is how these essays proceed both sequentially and recursively as they circle and recircle a boyhood shaped by cycles of anger and affection, isolation and intimacy. The emotional intensity can be overpowering."—Robert Atwan, Series Editor, The Best American Essays

"Lee Martin is that rare memoirist who, in his willingness to explore what he believes to be his biggest flaws and mistakes, lifts the souls of everyone who joins on the journey. In this raw and honest book, Martin magnifies the healing potential of self-reflection, delivered on a quiet undercurrent of hope."—Connie Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Daughters of Erietown

"An award-winning fiction writer, essayist, and memoirist, Martin (b. 1955) creates an affecting portrait of his troubled childhood in a small Illinois farming town. . . . Martin's hard road involved recognizing his emotional legacy: inheriting from his father a constant feeling of wariness against forces that were "waiting to hurt me" and from his mother, a desire to believe in a God who will keep him "safe and free from harm."—Kirkus Reviews

"Gone the Hard Road is a follow-up to his first memoir, told in thirteen connected essays. It focuses on his mother, a compassionate woman, who, in spite of her family's hardships, remains positive and optimistic. . . . In Gone the Hard Road, Martin tells his story of growing up in rural Illinois with great passion, love, and undying hope."—Debbie Hagan, Brevity

9780253053862 : gone-the-hard-road-martin
176 Pages
$20.00 USD

Other Titles by Lee Martin

Dancing in Dreamtime

Scott Russell Sanders, Gregory Frost, Lee Martin, Erin Stalcup, Gregory Frost, Carmen Machado, Lee Martin, Erin Stalcup, Carmen Machado
Aug 2016 - Indiana University Press
$17.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Winesburg, Indiana

edited by Michael Martone, Zachary Tyler Vickers, edited by Bryan Furuness, William O'Rourke, with contributions by Valerie Sayers, CJ Hribal, Roxane Gay, Robin Black, Andrew Hudgins, Lee Martin, Kelcey Ervick Parker, Gregory Schwipps,...
Jul 2015 - Indiana University Press
$17.00 USD - Paperback / softback

New Stories from the Midwest

edited by Jason L. Brown, Shanie Latham, with contributions by Roderick N. Crooks, Michael Czyzniejewski, Anthony Doerr, David Driscoll, Roxane Gay, Lania Knight, Rebecca Makkai, Brenda K. Marshall, Lee Martin, Charles McLeod, Christoph...
Mar 2013 - Indiana University Press
$30.00 USD - Paperback / softback

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Bluegrass Craftsman

edited by Frances L. S. Dugan, Jacqueline P. Bull
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No Son of Mine

Jonathan Corcoran
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All Sky, Mirror Ocean

Brad Necyk, foreword by Natalie Loveless
Jan 2024 - University of Alberta Press
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A Life for Belarus

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After the Roundup, Graphic Edition

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Traveler, Scholar, Political Adventurer

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