A Step from Death
By Larry Woiwode
Counterpoint LLC, Hardcover, 9781582433738, 272pp.
Publication Date: February 2008
List Price: $24.00*
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Larry Woiwode's literary fame began with his first novel, the 1969 classic What I’m Going to Do, I Think, and continued unabated through his brilliant 2000 memoir What I Think I Did. In this deeply affecting follow-up to the latter, Woiwode addresses his son as heir to his emotional interior. With vibrant wordcraft and a poetic sensibility, Woiwode begins his story by relating a near-death experience with a malfunctioning hay baler the kind of mistake that can kill a novice farmer. This episode is the first skein in a rich tapestry of memories, from colorful snippets of Woiwode’s time in New York as a young writer working with the late, great William Maxwell, to his days as a young father, husband, and teacher trying to scrape enough together to buy a ranch in western North Dakota, and finally to the prospect of an empty nest and the step from death that he finds rapidly approaching.