Review: Welcome to America

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Review for "Welcome to America" by Linda Bostrom Knausgard (2019)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Welcome to America” is a short book with a whole lot going on. The dialogue is minimal, and the reader is always in the headspace of Ellen, a young girl who has stopped talking in the wake of her father’s death. Certain that she has ‘killed’ him by praying for him to die, it is clear that Ellen is in the middle of a serious trauma about which the rest of her family is unaware.

Through flashbacks, it is revealed that shortly before Ellen’s father’s death he had been institutionalized and may or may not have tried to kill his family with a gas leak. Her brother nails his bedroom door shut and becomes angry and abusive. Ellen’s mother, an actress, continually insists that they are “a family of light” is emotionally absent and a narcissist.

There is not so much the focus of a plot line here. Instead, this is a stream-of-conscious window into Ellen’s life at this time period as she muses a lot about death and dying.

This is a decent read, I’ll give this four stars.

4 thoughts on “Review: Welcome to America”

  1. Holy shit, this book sounds like a real downer! I have a weakness for books about dysfunctional families though and I’ve been on the lookout for literary fiction that’s short but impactful. I might give this one a try sometime; great review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not short, but I thought it was a fast read: Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett. My review is up tomorrow at grabthelapels.com

      Super brief synopsis: father who worked in taxidermy kills himself, and his daughter, a lesbian in her 30s who loved the same woman as her brother, has to try and fix things after her mother starts positioning the taxidermy animals in sexual positions in the store window.

      Liked by 1 person

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