John Price’s Man Killed by Pheasant is a loving ode to the prairies of the Midwest, to west central Iowa, and to family connections that stretch from his Swedish ancestors to his parents to his wife and children. Throughout, he embraces “the opportunity, as always, to settle, to remember, and be ready.” This quest sounds more portentous than it is, once enriched with Price’s gentle humor and endearing empathy. Sharing stories of home, secrets of landscape, and binding ties to both, he weaves history and memory to create permanent kinships for himself and for his readers.
“John Price writes with exceptional lucidity, humor, and wisdom about his unexceptional—and exemplary—American life. I spent my own youth in this very region, and I don’t know a better or more charming prose distillation of its sweet, homely beauty and melancholy. Man Killed by Pheasant . . . is a perfect nonfiction companion to the stories of Garrison Keillor and the movies of Alexander Payne.”—Kurt Andersen, author, Heyday, and host of PRI’s Studio 360
“Reveals the humor and uncertainty of youth and parenthood; the clarity of his nature writing exhibits the strength he finds in the ancient patterns of migratory birds and the flexibility of the Missouri River. Beyond his elegantly styled memoir, Price achieves a rich biographical portrait of the rural Midwest—its cultural and natural terrain—creating a character from the profound flatness of the region with as much life as he finds in his grandparents and children.”—Booklist, starred review
“Whether he is writing about fatherhood, or marriage, or gardening, or snow geese, readers will be captivated by his honest and funny search for meaning, for belonging, for home.”—Boston Globe
“The David Sedaris of nature writing and one of the most important younger nature writers.”—Isotope: A Journal of Literary Nature and Science Writing
“John Price’s memoir is a powerful inquiry into what it means to be a Midwesterner. In a style that replicates the laconic surface and passionate undercurrents of that region, he has fashioned not only a personal story, but a powerful evocation of the land and its European immigrant families. Essential reading for—and of—the heartland.”—Patricia Hampl, author, The Florist’s Daughter
“A delightful read. . . . Price adds touches of humor at just the right times in ways recalling the writing of David Sedaris. Price’s portrayal of a young man dealing with the occasional hard truth of life is funny at times, moving at others, and always engaging. . . . [I]t is a joy to learn about Price’s life, his development as a writer, and his development as a person.”—The Omaha World-Herald