Themes that affect us all: marriage, children, houses as homes or as investment capital? An astonishingly well-researched challenge, fluently written, to what has traditionally been defined as home, or the nuclear family box. Don't be fooled by what has been a high-profile, feminist catfight over one theme of the book. Neustatter has been honest enough to admit that ambitious career women may need to look again at how their home-life balance impacts on their children. And that is all the press has reported about the book. It is more visionary and varied than that.
One of the most interesting chapters, Not Forsaking All Others, opens with a description of how infidelity--a woman, her husband and her lesbian lover--has created a harmonious home. Far from being immoral, it may be that "relationships not harnessed to vows of lifelong monogamy may make for more sustainable relationships and less broken homes than we see at present." We see how one divorced couple managed to live under the same roof and create an extended home for children and grandchildren, for new partners.
She gives a moving description of one organic/biodynamic Camphill intentional community. Here the learning disabled live side by side with co-workers and their children, with everyone benefitting from a less lonely, more sustainable and a more productive, work-centred lifestyle.
If, as is observed, loneliness is one of the great sadnesses of our times, then A Home for the Heart is a undeniable antidote, a blueprint for stepping out of the box and creating new constellations for the challenges that face our relationships, society, and indeed the planet itself. Neustatter's writing is always solution conscious. Buy it, and enjoy its undeniable hopefulness and wise insights.