Growing up, Bill Holm knew what failure was: "to die in Minneota." But after returning to his hometown ("a very small dot on an ocean of grass") after 20 years' absence, he wasn't so sure. Finding pleasure in the customs and characters of small-town life, in The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere on Earth he writes with affection about the town elders, seen by those in the outside world as misfits and losers. "They taught me what to value, what to ignore, what to embrace, and what to resist." In his trek through the heartland, Holm covers a satisfyingly wide emotional terrain, from scandalous affairs in the 1950s to his aunt's touching attempts to transcend poverty with perfume and movie-star airs.