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Here the local vigilante is a farmer's wife armed with a pistol and a Bible, the most senior member of the volunteer fire department is a cross-eyed butcher with one kidney and two ex-wives (both of whom work at the only gas station in town), and the back roads are haunted by the ghosts of children and farmers. Michael Perry loves this place. He grew up here, and now -- after a decade away -- he has returned.
Unable to polka or repair his own pickup, his farm-boy hands gone soft after years of writing, Mike figures the best way to regain his credibility is to join the volunteer fire department. Against a backdrop of fires and tangled wrecks, bar fights and smelt feeds, he tells a frequently comic tale leavened with moments of heartbreaking delicacy and searing tragedy.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
Michael Perry puts together a wonderful collection regarding himself becoming reacquainted with this rural home town through the volunteer fire department. Coming from a rural town, and being on a department myself, I can say that he has nailed it!
Michael Perry, a little bit country, a little bit rock n roll
Population 485 has some profound and deeply resonating meditations on small town life, and at the same time this tome contains some impressive word-smithing and interdisciplinary citations ranging from ancient Greece philosophers to thermodynamics and not excluding John Prine. Perry succinctly captures the world of a volunteer firefighter in Wisconsin in the post 9/11 world and like any good story his recounting reveals a universally identifiable humanity native devoid of place or time, a true feat of craftsmanship indeed.