The Jesus Cow

Michael Perry. Harper, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-228991-9
Perry’s (Population: 485) latest is an amiable and quirky exploration of Christian beliefs, set against the backdrop of economically depressed rural Wisconsin. Bachelor Harley has been forced to sell portions of his family’s farm to developers over the years just to stay afloat. But on Christmas Eve, his beef cow goes into labor, delivers a calf that bears the unmistakable image of Jesus on her hide, and Harley knows his life is about to change—whether it’s for the better or not, however, is unclear. Harley initially attempts to hide the Jesus Cow, but word quickly gets out, and soon everyone in town has an opinion. There’s Klute Sorensen, the Hummer-driving developer intent on suing Harley right out of his home. Carolyn Sawchuck, a disgraced academic, rents the old water tower and shack on one edge of Harley’s land. And then there’s Billy, Harley’s friend, whose help is well intentioned but usually comes in the form of old country lyrics dispensed over a bottle of beer. Perry’s novel wrestles with some big issues—religion, environmentalism, community—but he resists letting his narrative get too bogged down in them. The result is a purposeful story that doesn’t overwhelm, an often charming read that rarely takes itself too seriously. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/30/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
Compact Disc - 978-1-5046-1133-6
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-06-228998-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-239500-9
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-228999-5
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