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The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home: Detours and Discoveries  |  Tom Montgomery Fate  | Trade paper with gate-folds  | $19.99 | 168p | ISBN 9781948509367

In a world of shortcuts, a book that embraces the long way.

Recent Reviews: ALA/BookList Review  |  Minneapolis Star Tribune Review  |  Notre Dame Magazine  | Little Village Review, Q & A

A travel memoir that ventures from his smalltown upbringing to vastly different cultures around the globe, Tom Montgomery Fate comes to define “home” not as a physical location, but as a way of belonging. “Migrating birds have an internal compass that allows them to home their way back to their nesting place each spring,” he writes. “For birds, home is both verb and noun—both journey and destination.” The same is true for Fate. Whether he is bobbing in a canoe in the freezing rain with his son on a Canadian lake, praying with Lakota elders in a sweat lodge in South Dakota, or teaching English in a remote Filipino village, these are not stories of arrival. They are detours of discovery, a spiritual wayfinding through the  wilderness of time and memory.

Early Praise for The Long Way Home:

Scott Russell Sanders on The Long Way Home: “Tom Montgomery Fate offers us a testament of devotion—to family, social justice, the unsung midwestern landscape, and the wisdom housed in books. His own book adds to that wisdom, harvesting insights from a lifetime of inner and outer travels. Each essay is a vivid episode in his quest, a venturing out to places that test his character and mold his conscience, followed by a return home, his vision renewed. Traveling with him as readers, we may learn to see our own homeplaces afresh.”—Scott Russell Sanders, author of The Way of the Imagination

In thoughtful and graceful prose, Tom Montgomery Fate offers us a valuable perspective on what it means to journey, not as a tourist, but as a traveler, someone unsure of where he is going. The book is a worthy exploration of poet William Stafford’s question: “Is there a way to be gone and still belong? Travel that takes you home?”—Kathleen Norris, author of Acedia and Me and Dakota

Tom Montgomery Fate’s writing represents the best of what creative nonfiction can be—beautiful, compassionate, and deeply urgent. Whether gently holding his parents in the midst of their dementia or listening to rainfall in the Philippines or fishing with his son in Canada, Tom draws closer the spiritual threads that link us to one another and to the earth, our shared home.  Inside such a faith, with all its necessary doubts, we may yet find, as he states it, ‘the knowledge and courage to follow what we love, and to believe it will lead us where we need to go.’  This book, in these troubled times, guides us nearer that hoped-for destination.—John T. Price, author of All is Leaf: Essays and Transformations

“So how do we learn to see, and nurture, the beauty in nature—and to belong to it—wherever we are?” Tom Montgomery Fate asks in his eloquent new book of travel essays.  Decaying trees, a cutthroat trout, a red-tailed hawk all pull Fate along a river of realization of the convergence of life into death, death into life. Fate’s book offers a beautiful collection of spiritual, transformative insights.-Mary Swander, author of The Maverick M.D

Tom Montgomery Fate’s masterful literary journeys—his aptly named “detours of intention”—remind me of why the essay is such a powerful and engaging form. The Long Way Home is a deeply felt and beautifully written exploration of the search to find home, both in the landscape and in ourselves.-Michael P. Branch, author of On the Trail of the Jackalope 

Tom Fate’s essays are thoughtful, beautifully written wanderings into landscapes of family, faith, and diverse places traveled over the arc of an adventurous and well-examined life. Like any wise traveler, Fate knows it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters—and that wherever we’re from never leaves our hearts.–Cassie Kircher, author, Farflung

 In the tradition of May Sarton’s Journal of Solitude, Tom Montgomery Fate takes the reader on an interior exploration through exterior landscapes. Monks, canoes, and travels abroad reveal the roving mind of  Fate as he not only lives his life, but creates a life of meaning. This is a book for all seasons, and for anyone hungry for spiritual adventure.-Taylor Brorby, author of Boys and Oil

Tom Montgomery Fate is a refreshingly self-critical pilgrim, and is bent on traveling to the most honest place in his heart, and we follow too, as he mourns and connects.-S.L. Wisenberg, author of Holocaust Girls: History, Memory & Other Obsessions and The Adventures of Cancer Bitch

 Tom Montgomery Fate writes with the gifts of compassion and abiding care. On his journeys, he invites readers into intimate spaces and unusual explorations of place and spirit with a clear, lyrical prose that fortunate readers can follow like a map of outer and inner worlds. Todd Davis, author of Coffin Honey 

These essays are bound together by an observant honesty and companionable humility that make them rewarding to read.—Robert Root, author of Happenstance and Postscripts: Retrospections on Time and Place

What a pleasure to travel with Tom Montgomery Fate, whether in his metaphoric backyard or halfway around the world, burrowing inward even as he connects outward.–Michele Morano, author of Like Love

My favorite type of nonfiction presents not just ideas, but the drama of how those ideas are arrived at, the action consisting of a psychological wrestling match within the narrator. That is what we find in A Long Way Home, a complex self-portrait of a good man.—David Gessner, author, All the Wild That Remains


Tom Montgomery Fate is a professor emeritus at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL, where he taught creative writing and literature courses for more than 30 years. He is the author of five other nonfiction books. The most recent is Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father’s Search for the Wild (Beacon Press). A regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune, his essays have appeared in The Boston Globe, The Baltimore Sun, Orion, The Iowa Review, Fourth Genre, River Teeth, and many others. Dozens of his essays have also aired on NPR and Chicago Public Radio.

Upcoming Events:

Sunday, Sept. 11. Printers Row Lit Fest. 11:00 a.m. “In conversation with Amity Carruba.” Grace Place. 637 S. Dearborn St. Chicago.

Sunday, Sept. 18. First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn. 11:00 a.m. 535 Forest Ave., Glen Ellyn.

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 7:00 p.m. Prairie Lights Bookstore, Iowa City, Iowa.

Sunday, Sept. 25. Riverstone Books. Squirrel Hill. 5:00 p.m. Pittsburgh PA.

Monday, Sept. 26. Red Dragan Reading Series. 7:30 p.m. Morris Conference Center. SUNY-Oneonta. Oneonta, NY

Saturday, Oct. 1st. Reading with John Price and Debra Marquardt. 6:00 pm. C.Y. Stephens Aud, The Goldfinch Room.  Ames, Iowa.

Sunday, Oct. 2.  9:00 a.m.  Ames UCC. 217 6th St.  Ames, Iowa.

Thursday, Oct. 6. Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Kalamazoo MI. 10:00p.m: “The Craft of CNF”; 2:00 p.m.: Public Reading from The Long Way Home.

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 12:00/noon. Friends of American Writers reading series. The Fortnightly Club, 120 E. Belleview Place. Chicago.

Sunday, Nov. 13. 9:45 a.m. Faith Lutheran Church. 41 N. Park Blvd. Glen Ellyn, IL.