The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere on Earth

Minneota, Minnesota
“A classic American voice.” —LOS ANGELES TIMES
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From beloved Minnesota author Bill Holm, a postcard from home, investigating—through the lens of small-town life—what community means to us and the rigid definitions we give to “success” and “failure.”

Growing up, Holm could define failure easily; it was “to die in Minneota.” But when he returned to his hometown (“a very small dot on the ghost of an ocean of grass”) twenty years later, he began to uncover the past and to discover more of himself and of our time. When Holm writes of Minneota, its lost histories—and its people—emerge with a wit that disarms us and a wisdom that gets to the heart of our culture. By stepping out of the mainstream into what others regard as a backwater, Holm began to question the pace of our culture and how, in the rush to get ahead, we’ve lost our roots.

Whether tracking the forbidden recipes of Holm’s Icelandic parents or spilling the beans on the scandalous affair of Hester and Art, The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere on Earth celebrates the connections between us.

Publish Date
5.5 × 8.5 × 0.75 in
12.1 oz

Bill Holm

Bill Holm was born in 1943 on a farm outside Minneota, Minnesota. He received a BA from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1965 and an MA from the University of Kansas in 1967.

Praise and Prizes

  • “Bill Holm’s is a classic American voice, but of a kind we haven’t often heard lately. It’s the voice of the prairie radical, the village agnostic, toting volumes of Walt Whitman, Henry George and Sherwood Anderson as he saunters through Minneota.”

    Los Angeles Times
  • “Bill Holm’s writing is remarkable in its clarity and accessibility—friendly without being folksy, wise without being preachy. He’s the kind of guy you want to listen to carefully, because it’s clear from the get-go that he’s a guy with something important to say.”

    Minnesota Monthly
  • “Like all good essayists, Bill Holm makes his points by indirection. He is by turns cantankerous, sensible, and lyrical. He stops us short with fine observations… . As Holm amply and eloquently demonstrates here, human connections can only be made over time—with commitment, persistence, trust, respect, and goodwill.”

  • “Intoxicatingly rambling … In Bill Holm’s care, the days and nights of Pauline Bardal, Agnes Rafnson and furtive lovers Art and Hester are as fascinating as the passing fancies of Helen of Troy. Somehow, Holm makes their stories our stories. If their lives mattered, our lives matter.”

    Twin Cities Reader
  • “Smartly written … Bill Holm has a way of touching your life, shaking up your pet theories and leaving you a somewhat changed individual.”

    Ventura County (CA) Star
  • “A hymn in a familiar key to the small town on the edge of the prairie in which Bill Holm was born and raised … It wryly examines our contemporary lives and concerns from a Midwestern angle.”

    Publishers Weekly