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American Salvage

Bonnie Jo Campbell

Publication Year: 2010

A lush and rowdy collection of stories set in a rural Michigan landscape, where wildlife, jobs, and ways of life are vanishing.

Published by: Wayne State University Press


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pp. vii

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pp. 1-4

The mother jiggles her key in the ancient lock, nudges open the heavy oak door with her shoulder, and then freezes on the threshold. The father steps around her, enters the kitchen of the family cottage—last summer he and his daughter painted these walls...

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pp. 5-32

He was standing in mud, leaning on his round-end shovel, when he saw the big orange snake folded on the rocks beside the driveway, its body as thick as his stepson’s arm. Jerry dragged himself out of the waist-deep hole where he’d been digging around the dry well and moved along the side of the building, approached the rocks...

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pp. 33-38

Propane tanks reclined like rows of swollen white bellies behind the chain link, each tank emblazoned with the Pur-Gas smiling cat logo, one of the boss’s idiotic conceptions—he’d apparently forgotten that the “p-u-r” was meant to be pronounced “pure.” At...

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pp. 39-51

A rusted El Camino clips the leg of the thirteen-year-old girl, sends her flying through the predawn fog. She lands on the side of the road and lies twisted and alive in the dirty snow. Before the pain gathers its strength, the girl sees how her leg looks wrong...

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pp. 52-55

Connie said she was going out to the store to buy formula and diapers. While she’s gone, load up the truck with the surround-sound home-entertainment system and your excellent collection of power tools, put the baby boy in the car seat, and drive away from this home you built with your own hands. Expect that after you...

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pp. 56-72

After ten at night you had to prepay for gas at the station in Plainwell, and Jim Lobretto didn’t realize how much his empty two gallon can stank of fuel until he got it inside. He might have left the can outside the door while he paid, but knowing his luck, some...

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pp. 73-83

“No more hunting,” Marylou’s daddy rumbles. Mr. Strong is a small man, hardly bigger than Marylou herself, but he’s got a big voice, and some people call him just Strong, without the Mister. “We got more than enough meat. You understand what I’m...

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pp. 84-91

Harold had been happily married to Trisha four years, despite Trisha’s occasional late night drinking and her bouts of weeping, which had become more frequent since the war in Iraq, where her brother was now on his third tour of duty. Late evening, on the day a blizzard dropped nine inches of snow on their corner of...

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pp. 92-106

A man who trusted himself to own a gun could walk into this place and shoot these guys, one after another, watch the glass fly: Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Yukon Jack, Johnny Walker Red. The bartender pocketed a dollar-fifty tip and smiled. Th omssen grinned and saluted, but he felt the grin pull tight across his face...

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pp. 107-113

On his first day out of the hospital, that no-good son of a bitch Jonas comes walking up the driveway beside the garden. He’s got a lot of nerve coming here. Considering he’s been on dialysis for a month, he looks okay, although older than his forty-one years...

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pp. 114-130

On a windy evening in February, William Slocum Jr., eleven months out of prison, pulled into King Cole’s driveway in a Jeep he’d stolen from an apartment complex near his girlfriend’s house. He’d cut through the Jeep’s canvas top with a utility knife, popped...

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pp. 131-143

Big Bob stood at the prow of Doug’s sixteen-foot MerCruiser with the rebuilt 302 engine and offered up a cold, dripping can. Doug kept his right hand on the wheel and caught the beer left-handed with a wet smack. He glanced behind him to see if his girlfriend...

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pp. 144-150

The banks were doomed. Hal Little knew it beyond the shadow of a doubt. And without the banks, everything else would fail—the stock markets, of course, but also the government and then the power company, the water and sewer, law and order, and most importantly, the gas stations. People...

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pp. 151-167

The boar hog was advertised on a card at the grocery store for only twenty-five dollars, but the Jentzen farm was going to be a long, slow drive, farther down LaSalle Road than Jill had traveled, past where the blacktop gives way to gravel and farther past, where it twists and turns and becomes a rutted two track. Ernie was...

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pp. 169-170

Heidi Bell, Carla Vissers, Andy Mozina, and Lisa Lenzo are the best friends a writer could have, and these stories sing their praises. Christopher Magson’s good humor and good husbandry have made the book possible, and Jaimy Gordon has wised it up. Thank you, Melissa Fraterrigo...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814334911
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814334867

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1
Volume Title: N/a