A while back, she recommended that I read something by Michael Perry. She said that parts of my writing — particularly parts of The New Christians — reminded her of Perry’s writing. Looking back, that is a humbling compliment.
I picked up Perry’s book, Population: 485 – Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time last week, and I tore through it in three days. He’s a writer of great talent, bringing the mundane and everyday into high relief. The books is alternatively funny and heart-rending. And it is unapologetically nostalgic.
Perry writes of his hometown, New Auburn, Wisconsin, to which he has moved back in his early 30s. He’s joined the volunteer fire department, and he goes on all sorts of calls, ranging from tragic (which begins and ends the book) to the silly to the touching. But really, it’s a book about America.
One passage in particular struck me, because it resonated with my own vocation as a practical theologian: