After a 12-year absence, a real-life prodigal seeks to serve his hometown -- New Auburn, Wisconsin, population: 485 -- by joining the volunteer fire and rescue department. In a place where men post claims of manhood on bug deflectors, where the local vigilante is a farmer's wife with a pistol and a Bible, and where the most senior firefighter is a cross-eyed butcher with one kidney and two ex-wives (both of whom work at the only gas station in town), writer Michael Perry sets out to meet my neighbors at the invitation of the fire siren.
This audio also includes eight wise and witty essays selected from Perry's new book, Off Main Street . Whether fighting fires, playing nurse to a murderer, hitting the road with a truck driver, or meditating on Elvis and osmosis, Perry shows us that his small-town roots have not limited his worldview -- in fact, they've enlarged it in some of the subtlest, most observant and memorable ways possible. This collection is a diverse and generous survey of the author's talents as a journalist, penetrating observer and rural-bred storyteller of Wisconsin.