Sawbill: A Search for Place
University of New Mexico Press, 2018
Honorable Mention in Memoir, 2019 Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards.
In Sawbill, Jennifer Case watches her family suddenly exchange their rooted existence for a series of relocations that take them across the United States. In response, Case struggles to “live in place” without a geographical home, a struggle that leads her to search for grounding in the now-dismantled fishing resort her grandparents ran in northeastern Minnesota. By chronicling her migratory adulthood alongside the similarly unpredictable history of Sawbill Lodge, this memoir offers a resonant meditation on home, family, environment, and the human desire for place in the inherently mobile twenty-first century.
“In her pilgrimage to learn more about the Sawbill Resort once owned by her grandparents and the Boundary Waters of childhood vacations, Jennifer Case embarks on a personal journey, rediscovering the vast beauty of an almost pristine landscape as well as a complicated inner landscape as she surveys the boundaries of family bonds, love of the land, and our inexplicable, inextricable connections to place.”
—Jill McCabe Johnson, Artsmith, author of Borderlines
“Case’s story, while specific to her own family’s history and migrations, is one that anyone who has ever loved and left a place can connect to, one that anyone who has ever searched for or made a home can understand.”
“Case regularly challenges her own perceptions, attitudes, and convictions and acknowledges the slippery nature of nostalgic history […] Yet, her intricate blending of family chronicles, personal experience, Minnesota’s geography, and philosophies of place effectively navigates the spectrum between reality and imagination, memory and truth, wishes and acquiescence to create a stimulating read for anyone who has asked how the past influences the present.”
Interviews and Features:
An interview with Arts & Letters, KUAR, 2020
An excerpt published in Terrain.org, February 2018
Terse Journal, February 2020
Arkansas Life, 2018