Visiting Tom: A Man, a Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace (Hardcover)
From the acclaimed author of Coop and Population: 485 comes a portrait of a unique individual and a dedicated way of life.
What can we learn about life, love, and artillery from an eighty-two-year-old man whose favorite hobby is firing his homemade cannons? Visit by visit often with his young daughters in tow author Michael Perry finds out.
Toiling in his shop, Tom Hartwig makes gag shovel handles, parts for quarter-million-dollar farm equipment, and now and then batches of potentially extralegal explosives. Tom, who is approaching his sixtieth wedding anniversary with his wife, Arlene, and is famous for driving a team of oxen in local parades, has stories dating back to the days of his prize Model A and an antiauthoritarian streak refreshed daily by theinterstate that was shoved through his front yard in 1965 and now dumps more than eight million vehicles past his kitchen window every year. And yet Visiting Tom is dominated by the elderly man's equanimity andultimately when he and Perry converse as husbands and the fathers of daughters unvarnished tenderness.
PERRY S the real thing. USA Today.
About the Author
Michael Perry was raised on a small dairy farm near New Auburn, Wisconsin, and put himself through nursing school working as a cowboy in Wyoming. As of this writing, he is the only member of the New Auburn Area Fire Department to have missed the monthly meeting because of a poetry reading.
“Drop whatever you are doing and sit down to read Michael Perry’s Visiting Tom….Perry is a craftsman of the highest order….When you go back to doing what you were doing when you picked up this book, you might just see your world with a broader, more humane perspective.”
-New York Journal of Books
“Warmhearted….engaging….down-to-earth and genuine.”
“Funnier than Keillor.”
“Visiting Tom is more than just a whimsical portrait of a unique character. It’s a meditation on modernity and self-reliance that sneaks up on you with its unexpected depth.”
“Michael Perry writes the words that create the memoirs that make so many of us want to raise chickens and pigs, plant a few rows of corn or otherwise just make hay. Mostly, though, he makes us want to get to know our neighbors better - no matter where we live.”
-Experience Wisconsin Magazine
“The portrait Mr. Perry paints...is of a place and a life that is worth noting….His writing is beautiful and immediate and elegant.”
-Wall Street Journal
“[Perry] is a sharp and empathetic observer.”
“In Visiting Tom, a story that melds Perry’s unique humor with notes of Garrison Keillor and Billy Bryson, the elderly man’s tenderness and character jump off the page as he shares his thoughts on life and love.”
“It’s part memoir, part character piece. There’s a bit of the poetic to it. It’s about fighting bureaucracy, Foxfire-ish self-sustenance, life the ‘old timer’s’ way, and male-bonding foolishness. It’s about fatherhood, marriage and love. And it’s just about one of the sweetest books you’ll ever read.”
-Daily Sparks Tribune
“Charming and humorous.”