The Long Way Home: Detours and Discoveries

In a travel memoir that ventures from his small-town 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, pondering the ecology of an old-growth forest in Oregon, or trying to teach English at a small college in the Philippines, these are not stories of arrival. They are detours of discovery, a spiritual wayfinding through the wilderness of time and memory.

Praise for The Long Way Home: Detours and Discoveries

“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 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

“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

“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.  This book, in these troubled times, guides us nearer that hoped-for destination.”

John T. Price, author of All is Leaf: Essays and Transformations

“Tom 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

Reviews/Interviews: The Long Way Home

Feature review of The Long Way Home in The Daily Herald

Feature review of The Long Way Home in Booklist

What I’m Reading Now.” Feature Review of The Long Way Home from Notre Dame Magazine.

Feature review/interview of The Long Way Home in Little Village Magazine

Feature review of The Long Way Home in MPLS Star Tribune

Feature review of The Long Way Home from Writing the Northwest

Featured review and excerpt from Bearings, The Collegeville Institute

Feature review of The Long Way Home in MPLS Star Tribune

Book excerpt featured in The Chicago Tribune:On my father’s death (and other natural miracles.”

Excerpt from The Long Way Home in Terrain.org: “Over Time.”

What I’m Reading Now: The Long Way Home,” Review of The Long Way Home from Notre Dame Magazine by David McGrath.

Interview (video) on “Memoir and Writing The Long Way Home,” The Thoreau Society .