Chosen as an "Editors' Favorite Books of 2001" by The Bloomsbury Review
These sixty-four sharply honed stories, selected by the author from more than twenty years of work, showcase Jim Heynen’s equal mastery of terse, elegant prose and old-style country wit and wisdom. Every tale is an unerring slice from the lives of a group of farm boys, each full of mischief and witness to the world’s tiny miracles. They make coat sails to carry them down a frozen road, teach a three-legged dog to shake hands, build a house from the junk grown-ups throw away, but they also rescue pigs from an unexpected blizzard, feed apples to a blind pony, and learn the songs of different birds. Along the way, they encounter an unforgettable cast of characters: the goose lady, the girl at school with six toes, the man who kept cigars in his cap, Spitting Sally, their crazy Uncle Jack, and dozens more. Heynen’s stories, as uniquely American as those of Mark Twain or Sherwood Anderson, are ribald fun, but, like all good country tales, they are also filled with surprises and unexpected, deeper implications.
For this book Heynen has written twenty new stories and revised many of those tales originally published in his first two collections, both now unavailable. This retrospective volume serves as a wonderful companion to his much-praised collection, The One-Room Schoolhouse: Stories About the Boys.