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Man Killed by Pheasant: And Other Kinships Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 25, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (March 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306816059
  • ASIN: B001G7RDYW
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,259,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Library Journal
[Price's] amusing tone, including his ability to freely poke fun at himself, works exceptionally well here. Recommended for large public and academic libraries.
Omaha World Herald
“A delightful read…Price adds touches of humor at just the right times in ways recalling the writing of David Sedaris. Price's portrayal of a young man dealing with the occasional hard truth of life is funny at times, moving at others and always engaging. Ultimately, what makes the book work is that Price is a sympathetic person. We find ourselves caring about him.”
The Iowan
“If David Sedaris and Annie Dillard had a literary love child and raised him in Iowa, he would write like this…The landscape of Price’s memoir is a grace-filled territory of wit, wisdom, and, most of all, great compassion. Well worth a visit.”
Lincoln Journal Star, 4/27/08
“Transcends the genre, because it reflects on topics such as familial bonds, spirituality and humor…Price is a fine writer. He has a knack for tidy, unforced metaphors and rooting lofty ideas in simple events. He also employs self-deprecating humor in a way that is mostly convincing and genuinely funny.”

Orion “Book Notes” column
“Part Garrison Keillor, part backyard naturalist, Price writes with self-effacing humor and heart.”

E/The Environmental Magazine
“It may not be an environmental story, per se, but Price’s memories are fused by his awareness of place…And his deep-rooted fondness for Iowa never falters.”
Daily Iowan 7/10/08
“Emotionally resonant”
Boston Globe
“The story of [Price’s] growing up in one of those flat, boring ‘How do I get out of here?’ states: Iowa. Yet readers from any state will identify with his narrative…Call[s] to mind the self-deprecating humor and startling honesty of writer Anne Lamott…But the wonder of this book is how such humor is balanced by a Thoreau-like sensitivity, to the natural world and other things…Each chapter is a delicate weave of the I and the eye, of self and world…Whether he is writing about fatherhood, or marriage, or gardening, or snow geese, readers will be captivated by his honest and funny search for meaning, for belonging, for home.”

Tucson Citizen
“Highly recommended…[An] excellent book…With a conservationist's eye for both detail and clarity, Price's experiences evoke the richness of rural America and reflect an authenticity. Whether it's about wading in a creek, feeding wild burros or hiking through buffalo grass, his perceptive writing is reminiscent of a 21st century Thoreau.”


Science Communications
“It may take patience to get into these tales of the history of America’s Midwest states’ grasslands, but the region and the prose grow on you, much as the corn, soy, and wheat have overgrown nature’s backyard. Price masterfully interlaces lessons in ecosystem management—and loss—with family life, humor, and lessons on how to succeed in integrating science across the curriculum.”


Magill Book Reviews
“A humorous and poignant memoir…Skillfully written…An enjoyable read.”

ISLE, Fall 2010
“A coming-of-age story set in the Midwest…Price’s images sparkle, bringing life to the Iowa landscape.”

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Mckenna on April 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Man Killed by Pheasant and Other Kinships, by John T. Price, is an extraordinarily engaging memoir. Unless an author himself or herself is world famous, a writer's personality and authenticity of voice are the most important drivers in a memoir. While he might not be world famous, Price has a wonderfully warm humanity and an engaging prose style that makes Man Killed by Pheasant a must read.

In this book of seventeen artfully arranged essays, Price leads the reader through the first forty years of his life growing up in Iowa in a family sensibly Swedish in heritage and inescapably American in its vexations and triumphs. Price grounds his memoir with an essay about growing up on Haskell Street in Fort Dodge, Iowa, where he basked in the attention and approval of his great-aunt Esther. From her, he learned some Swedish and would pray: "Gud some haver barnen kar, Se till mig som liten ar." (God who loves the children, watch over me who is little.) And this image of a small boy fragile before the world is a motif that Price carries throughout his childhood and into adulthood.

Often hilariously so, as he recounts the myriad and typical ventures of a young man trying vainly to attract girls in spite of his small stature and uncertain social status. One of the most engaging aspects of Price's narrative is his self-deprecating humor. In one scene he describes himself attempting to date the center on the women's basketball squad only to have the relationship dissolve because he supposes the basketball center gets a strain in her neck for bending down to kiss him.

One of my favorite essays, "High Maintenance," describes Price's hapless attempts to be an on-site manager and handyman for some student apartments at the University of Iowa.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By :) on October 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a gem of a book! Being from Nebraska, (I live in the eastern portion of the state by Omaha) I appreciated Price's descriptions of Midwest life. Never hokey (it ain't all apple pie and tractors, you know!), with a fair acknowledgement of the struggles and a beautiful portrayal of the triumphs, Price's experience is as universal as it can get. Camp, drama club, then graduation and marriage, the collection of essays serve as snapshots of his life, yet are all connected though his consistent focus on place and environment as he deftly describes both the landscapes he encounters and their affect on him. I found his experiences interesting and poignant, yet he relates them with an easy, self-deprecating voice that at times left me laughing out loud (I was reading this on a plane and had to stifle my laughter many times!), and at times moved me nearly to tears. The prose is outstanding, with beautiful descriptions mixed in with the humor, creating a text that is covers the breadth of human experience more completely than similar works I have read. It hard to find that balance between sentiment and humor, but Prices executes it well. I would highly recommend this work, not only to those Midwesterners who can relate to his experiences, but to all readers who want to spend a quite afternoon getting to know an interesting person.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on September 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Man Killed By Pheasant and Other Kinships offers the author's journey from an isolated childhood in rural Iowa to a journey to relationships and life in the mountains of Idaho. His description of landscapes and rugged rural environments compliment his surveys of human relationships and lives, enhancing a wonderful account of closeness to nature and people alike.
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