Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Jesus Cow by Michael Perry

Swivel, Wisconsin is a quiet little village.  The sign at the city limits claims 562 residents, but that number is probably padded as people die off or move away.  For those who remain, it suits just fine.   They like their quiet town and knowing everyone in range.  Harley Jackson is one of these residents.  He grew up on a farm there and still keeps a few cows, even though his father had to sell off most of the farm to survive. 

But there are those who want things to change.  That includes the local developer, a man who gets his way by intimidation and money and who has targeted Harley's remaining acres to fulfill his dream of making Swivel a moneymaker development.  Harley's acres stand in his way of him owning the land around an interstate exit with its possibilities of fast-food restaurants and cheap hotels.

Then the miracle happens.  Harley's cow, Tina, gives birth to a calf on Christmas Eve.  The calf is born with markings that are the face of Jesus.  Everyone who sees it notices that immediately.  Harley's best friend says Harley should show the calf for money but Harley just wants to keep on living his quiet life.

But that isn't going to happen.  Word of the Jesus Cow gets out and soon there are flocks of people, vying to see the miracle and willing to pay to do so.  Harley and his new girlfriend must decide how to handle this bonanza, and their decisions make for a hilarious ride for the reader.

Michael Perry is known for his memoirs of life in rural America.  He is a former nurse and EMT who lives with his family on a small farm in a small town like Swivel where the way of life is rapidly disappearing.  This is his first fiction novel, and his gentle skewing of people and the rush of development is interesting as well as entertaining.  The reader will find himself firmly in Harley's camp as they read to see what will happen next.  This book is recommended for readers who are interested in small town life and an exploration of human nature. 

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I've heard such great things about Perry's non fiction, and it seems he's doing just as well with his first venture into fiction. Thanks for being a part of the tour!