“Part portrait of a place, part rescue manual, part rumination of life and death, Population: 485 is a beautiful meditation on the things that matter.” — Seattle Times
Welcome to New Auburn, Wisconsin (population: 485) where the local vigilante is a farmer’s wife armed with a pistol and a Bible, the most senior member of the volunteer fire department is a cross-eyed butcher with one kidney and two ex-wives (both of whom work at the only gas station in town), and the back roads are haunted by the ghosts of children and farmers. Michael Perry loves this place. He grew up here, and now—after a decade away—he has returned.
Unable to polka or repair his own pickup, his farm-boy hands gone soft after years of writing, Perry figures the best way to regain his credibility is to join the volunteer fire department. Against a backdrop of fires and tangled wrecks, bar fights and smelt feeds, Population: 485 is a comic and sometimes heartbreaking true tale leavened with quieter meditations on an overlooked America.
Praise For Population: 485…
— New York Times Book Review
“Swells with unadorned heroism. He’s the real thing .”
— USA Today
“In the best tradition of books that pay quiet homage to community servicy, place, and the men and women who live there. A perfectly pitched celebration of small-town life...”
— Kirkus Reviews
“This is a quietly devastating book--intimate and disarming and lovely.”
— Adrienne Miller, Esquire
“Minnesota has Garrison Keillor...Neighboring Wisconsin has Michael Perry. If you read one non-fiction title this autumn, make it this one. It’s that good.”
— The Sunday Oklahoman
“Part portrait of a place, part rescue manual, part rumination of life and death, Population: 485 is a beautiful meditation on the things that matter.”
— Seattle Times
” Population: 485 is bound to be one of the best non-fiction books of the year...Filled with moments of tenderness, humor and just plain goofiness as it takes us into the lives and homes of the inhabitants of one small town...Makes for riveting reading.”
— Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“...finely crafted, hard to come by honesty.”
— Hope Magazine
“Somewhere between Garrison Keillor’s idyllic-sweet Lake Wobegon and the narrow-mindedness of Sinclair Lewis’ “main Street” lies the reality of small-town life. This is where Michael Perry lives.”
— St. Paul Pioneer Press
“...may simply be the best book about small-town life ever written.”
— Wisconsin State Journal
— Chicago Tribune
“a remarkable new book, sometimes comic - sometimes sad...”
— Los Angeles Times
Harper Perennial, 9780061363504, 280pp.
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
About the Author
Michael Perry is a humorist, radio host, songwriter, and the New York Times bestselling author of several nonfiction books, including Visiting Tom and Population: 485, as well as a novel, The Jesus Cow. He lives in northern Wisconsin with his family and can be found online at www.sneezingcow.com.