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No Heroes

No Heroes

A Memoir of Coming Home

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In his fortieth year, Chris Offutt returns to his alma mater, Morehead State University, the only four-year school in the Kentucky hills. He envisions leading the modest life of a teacher and father. Yet present-day reality collides painfully with memory, leaving Offutt in the midst of an adventure he never imagined: the search for a home that no longer exists.
Interwoven with this bittersweet homecoming tale are the wartime stories of Offutt's parents-in-law, Arthur and Irene. An unlikely friendship develops between the eighty-year-old Polish Jew and the forty-year-old Kentucky hillbilly as Arthur and Offutt share comfort in exile, reliving the past at a distance. With masterful prose, Offutt combines these disparate accounts to create No Heroes, a profound meditation on family, home, the Holocaust, and history.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684865522 | 
  • April 2003
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Chapter One: Job Interview

Kentuckians have a long tradition of going west for a new life and winding up homesick instead. Some went nuts, some got depressed, and some made do. I did a little of all three, then got lucky. I finagled an interview for a teaching position at the only four-year university in the hills. It was more of a high school with ashtrays than a genuine college. I should know. Twenty years ago I graduated from there.

Morehead State University began as a Normal School to produce teachers for the Appalachian region, then progressed to college status. During the 1960s it became a full-fledged university, but natives... see more

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