Synopses & Reviews
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.
"This is a quietly devastating book intimate and disarming and lovely." Adrienne Miller, Esquire
"I have been waiting for thirty years for a fresh and talanted voice to rise out of the volunteer fire service in America, and finally it has arrived in Michael Perrys Population 485....But this is more than a book about a small town fire department. It is a literary venture told on the cusp of service to his community all written with a soft human touch by an intuitive writer with a distinctive and refined American style." Dennis Smith, Report From Ground Zero
"[Perry's] account of what he's learned from seven years of burning barns and midnight medevacs shows his obvious affection for a rural Midwestern world where 'visiting with' someone means hours of shooting the breeze and a 'supper club' is the height of sophistication." The New York Times
"Perry's insights into the small-town mentality come from apparent contemplation, and he writes about them with good humor, in prose reminiscent of Rick Bragg's." Publishers Weekly
"Often funny, sometimes heartbreaking, but always full of life, characters and the tangled web of small-town history, daily drama, and strain of occasional weirdness that make country living such a challenge and an adventure....A joy of a book." Michael Korda, author of Country Matters
“Swells with unadorned heroism. Hes the real thing .” USA Today
Michael Perry loves this place. He grew up here, and now--after a decade away--he has returned to join the volunteer fire department.
About the Author
Michael Perrywas raised on a small dairy farm near New Auburn, Wisconsin, and put himself through nursing school working as a cowboy in Wyoming. As of this writing, he is the only member of the New Auburn Area Fire Department to have missed the monthly meeting because of a poetry reading.