I’m from and of a place called New Auburn, Wisconsin. “Nobbern,” we locals call it (spelling is variable). I’ll be headed back to New Auburn this weekend for my high school reunion and to catch a few hours of Jamboree Days. This unexpected writing life has taken me a lot of places, but no matter where I get my mail, New Auburn is always home.
My New Auburn story is just one story. Just one voice in the chorus of time. When I was given the chance to write about the six square miles I know best, I knew it was a privilege. But what I wasn’t prepared for was how that story would catch the hearts of so many people across the country. Today I learned that Population: 485 is in its 24th printing. Mind-boggling. Warms my heart to think of “Nobbern” finding a place all over the place. And to think of all the people reading about the hometown I so love.
The current printing features new stylized cover art. If you can’t make it to Jamboree Days, you can get a copy of the updated favorite here…and if you order before August 6, signed copies are on sale for $12 + S&H. (Want it personalized to someone? Include a note on your order and we’ll see to it.
From the book jacket: “After a twelve-year absence, a real-life prodigal son returns to his hometown — New Auburn, Wisconsin, population: 485 — and joins the volunteer fire and rescue department. In a place where men post claims of manhood on their truck bumpers, where the local vigilante is a farmer’s wife armed with a pistol and a Bible, and where the most senior firefighter is a cross-eyed butcher with one kidney and two ex-wives (both of whom work at the only gas station in town), writer Michael Perry sets out “to meet my neighbors at the invitation of the fire siren.” The emergencies are real, the settings are surreal, and with each foray into the boondocks, we piece together the history of a people and a place. By turns fiery and funny, violent and gentle, Population:485 is the true account of a search for rootedness in a place from the past.”
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