Man Killed by Pheasant and Other Kinships

John T. Price, Author Da Capo Press $25 (263p) ISBN 978-0-306-81605-5
Taking a chronological tour of his life in Iowa, author and essayist Price (Not Just Any Land: A Personal and Literary Journey into the American Grasslands) ruminates on what he calls ""kinship"": the ""familial embrace of nature, body, and spirit"" that has kept him rooted in his home state. Price has a gentle but perceptive eye, especially when he turns it on his family. Reminisces about his rapidly deteriorating grandfather are especially compelling, and he's disarmingly honest throughout. His dry sense of humor, put to fine use in the title chapter, is sparse but stinging: ""One of the great things about... the seventies in general, was that parents and children were encouraged, whenever possible, to participate in separate activities."" Made up largely of previously published essays, Price's memoir lacks cohesion and his limited scope can feel self-indulgent (especially in respect to his wife, who comes across as a cipher). Still, this book has a strong agrarian sensibility and a careful method of self-examination that recalls Indiana-based essayist Scott Russell Sanders; it should resonate well with regional readers, but may also catch a groundswell of Green-related interest in urban centers.
Reviewed on: 03/24/2008
Release date: 03/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
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