cover image The Way Home

The Way Home

Leigh Sauerwein. Farrar Straus Giroux, $15 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-374-38247-6

Spanning 150 years of United States history, six succinctly wrought stories express themes of confinement and rebirth in the lives of African Americans, Native Americans and whites. The first (and longest) selection, ``Storm Warning,'' establishes the nostalgic mood of the volume: Jonathan Walking Bear, deeply scarred by his experiences in Vietnam, looks back to a time when his people roamed the plains as he recounts tales of his ancestors to a fatherless neighbor boy. Other narratives offer a glimpse of slaves escaping to freedom, or of prisoners, physically or emotionally bound. The author's knowledgeable, understated tone creates an atmosphere of authenticity. Her taut pacing and strong, unadorned prose will leave readers reflecting upon their forebears and the high price so many have had to pay for emancipation. Sauerwein, who was born in the U.S. and now lives in France, has written other books for young readers, but this is her first to appear in English. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)