Q Road

By Bonnie Jo Campbell
(Scribner, Hardcover, 9780743203654, 288pp.)

Publication Date: September 3, 2002

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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Description
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 Campbellhas 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.

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