Synopses & Reviews
Welcome to Q Road, in Greenland Township, where the old way of life is colliding with the new. On the same acres where farmers once displaced Potawatomi Indians, suburban developers now supplant farmers and Q road (or "Queer Road," as the locals call it) has become home to an unlikely mix of people. The neighbors include a sixth-generation farmer and his rifle-toting child bride, and evangelical bartender, a tabloid-reading agoraphobe, a philandering window salesman, and an asthmatic boy who longs for the love of a good father.These folks all smell the pig manure from the Whitby farm and share the same grand views of the Kalamazoo River and the oldest barn in the township -- until one disastrous October afternoon.
Bonnie Jo Campbell's first novel combines offbeat humor, eccentric characters, and unique insights into modern rural America, where family traditions have flown the coop and only the cycle of the seasons remains. At the heart of this tale are three characters so integrally connected and devoted to the Harland farm that they might not survive anywhere else; their lives, their livelihoods, and their sometimes violent love for one another are all rooted in the soil of this square mile.
As The Village Voice said of Campbell's story collection, she "crystallizes those moments when benumbed everyday routine is briefly jolted by dizzy instants of lucidity." It may take a spring tornado or a lightning bolt in the garden to get the folks of Q Road to pause in their work, but when they lift their gaze collectively, it can be life-altering. Brilliant atumn foliage creates the backdrop for the rich and ragged human landscape of rural southwestern Michigan, a place Campbell has explored in her award-winning short stories. In this passionate and funny novel she digs even deeper, to reveal the beauty and strangeness of her ferocious women, confused men, and hungry children.
"This appealing first novel is a May-December love story augmented by suspense and secrets....A thoughtful, well-paced, deeply moral (though not moralizing) novel full of hard lessons and the wisdom gained from them across generations." Publishers Weekly
"The vivid, varied cast and palpable sense of connection to the soil give (Q Road) a stern grandeur." Kirkus Reviews
"The broad tableau of aluminum siding versus pig manure is rendered here with delicate, exacting strokes." Mark Rozzo, L.A. Times
"Campbells spare, evocative prose is pure artistry, but her unusual characters and her unique way of linking the continuity of time with the lands inhabitants prove her a writer to watch." Joan Hinkemeyer, Rocky Mountain News
"Q Road is a whirlwind of vivid personalities, virtuoso prose, and intricate, engaging plot. Campbell is a storyteller every bit as gifted as Larry Brown or Eudora Welty, a social commentator as keenly observant as Tom Wolfe, and a wordsmith of the first order. Youll delight in Campbells uniquely eccentric collection of characters." Novelist Martin Clark
"Campbell is a poet of survival, lust, and freedom, and the call of her powerful stories resonates long after their pages have been turned." Booklist
About the Author
Bonnie Jo Campbell has won a Pushcart Prize, as well as the 1998 Associated Writing Programs Award in Short Fiction for her collection, Women and Other Animals. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.