Barn Stripping: And Other Stories

Barn Stripping: And Other Stories

by Andrew J. Olson


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In his own quest for William H. Gass's "heart of the heart of the country," author Andrew J. Olson takes readers to rural Minnesota, where children are essential parts in the machinery of everyday life. Portals to wonderment, they must learn the hard way about their own bodies and their own fragility, and yet we recognize it's their souls that are resilient, because even the marginalized exude a certain magic that cannot be ignored. Young men learn that hard work is its own reward, and that promises can be reaped from the land. However, workaday tragedies lie in wait, and Mother Nature is brutish in her lack of sympathy. Fortunately, the sense of duty that comes with living in a small community helps to temper both grief and loss, and in the end, we find that the heart of the heart of the country is a gift that can't be sought, only found.

For those of us who are blessed to live on corn-speckled streets, these stories by Andrew J. Olson ring true. There is also a universality that readers will recognize as Olson tells stories that explore family relationships, innocence, loss, grief, revenge. We reach into the stories, and they surprise us, move us, encourage us, and help us to see ourselves, each other, and the world more clearly. - David Bengtson, author of Broken Lines: Prose Poems.

In this evocative first collection set mostly on family farms in west central Minnesota, Andrew J. Olson strips his haunted young men of everything but their pride. In the title story, the venerable rural practice of barn stripping becomes a poignant symbol of mortality. One teenager comes to grip with a father from another time, suspended in his ways and in his outlook on the world, while another grows beyond his years after his father is killed in Iraq...these characters live in hardscrabble but resilient emotional territory. This is their survival manual, and Olson writes it with a flair for the telling episode or detail. - Alan Davis, author of So Bravely Vegetative and

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478717645
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Publication date: 10/25/2012
Pages: 120
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.28(d)

About the Author

Andrew J Olson is a graduate of the MFA program at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, and his work has appeared in numerous journals. Olson currently instructs English and Writing courses at Northeastern Oklahoma College where he lives with his wife.

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