Ron Hansen's unexpectedly airy new book is about Natalie and Pierre, an amorous young French couple on a summer vacation. They might have gone to the Côte d'Azur, which is the sort of spot that Pierre favors. But Natalie, a librarian specializing in Americana and a confirmed watcher of "Little House on the Prairie," has something different in mind.
Thus begins a jaunt across the American Midwest, where corn detasseling is said to be a tourist highlight and the famous name liable to be dropped is that of Slim Pickens. "I am so excited to be here," Natalie declares upon reaching Omaha. Someone replies, "Compulsory politeness compels me to ask why."