• by Michael Perry
  • Narrated by Michael Perry
  • 6 hrs and 59 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


Audible Editor Reviews

Population: 485 is a pleasant respite from our fast-paced lives where emails come flying in every few minutes, friends you don't remember you had fill your computer with silly updates, and kids can manipulate a computer program but can't start a conversation. Michael Perry's collection of essays, performed here pleasantly by the author himself, is a considerate look at some of the stories we let go unnoticed all around us. With his witty and empathetic styling, Perry brings listeners back to a time of small towns and tall tales, when the most dangerous vigilante was an old lady with a pistol and a Bible.


What the Critics Say

Book Sense Book of the Year Award Finalist, Adult Non-Fiction, 2003
2005 Audie Award Nominee, Classic and Short Stories/Collections
"This is a quietly devastating book; intimate and disarming and lovely." (Esquire)
"Tragic at times, funny at others, Perry's memoir will appeal to anyone curious about small-town life." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A little slow, but it is a small town world....

This one takes patience to appreciate. I grew up in small town Iowa so I can appreciate the slow pace of the narratives and the verbose delivery of the author/narrator. This is a book of essays on the author's life and experiences living in a small town. Most of them are long roads to not too much but that's the midwest. There are lots of long roads there that don't go anywhere so it's up to you to appreciate riding the road you're on. If you can approach this book that way then you'll enjoy the ride.
You may want to keep a dictionary close. The author likes to use 50 cent words to describe 25 cent stories.
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- Steve

Wanted to read for years - disappointing

I thought this was going to be all about small town life, but Perry starts with some stories that don't connect - I was really disappointed. I have no idea when he started with the actual book because I quit reading it as it didn't make sense. I got the other books and hope they live up to their descriptions.
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- Patricia

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-15-2005
  • Publisher: HarperAudio