Synopses & Reviews
What can we learn about life, love, and artillery from an eighty-two-year-old man whose favorite hobby is firing his homemade cannons? Visit by visit — often with his young daughters in tow — author Michael Perry is about to find out.
Toiling in a shop Perry describes as "an antique store stocked by Rube Goldberg, curated by Hunter Thompson, and rearranged by a small earthquake," Tom Hartwig makes gag shovel handles, parts for quarter-million-dollar farm equipment, and — now and then — batches of potentially "extralegal" explosives. As he approaches his sixtieth wedding anniversary with his wife, Arlene, Tom, famous for driving a team of oxen in local parades, has an endless reservoir of stories dating back to days of his prize Model A, and an anti-authoritarian streak refreshed daily by the four-lane interstate that was shoved through his front yard in 1965 and now dumps over 8 million vehicles past his kitchen window every year. And yet Visiting Tom is dominated by the elderly man's equanimity and ultimately — when he and Perry converse over the kitchen table as husbands and as the fathers of daughters — unvarnished tenderness.
“Somewhere between Garrison Keillor's idyllic-sweet Lake Wobegon and the narrow-mindedness of Sinclair Lewis's Main Street lies the reality of small-town life. This is where Michael Perry lives.”
— St. Paul Pioneer Press
“Perry can take comfort in the power of his writing, his ability to pull readers from all corners onto his Wisconsin spread, and make them feel right at home.”
— Seattle Times
Tuesdays with Morrie meets Bill Bryson in Visiting Tom, another witty, poignant, and stylish paean to living in New Auburn, Wisconsin, from Michael Perry. The author of Population: 485, Coop, and Truck: A Love Story, Perry takes us along on his uplifting visits with his octogenarian neighbor one valley over — and celebrates the wisdom, heart, and sass of a vanishing generation that embodies the indomitable spirit of small-town America.
About the Author
Michael Perry is an amateur pig farmer, an active member of the local rescue service, and a contributing editor to Men's Health