by Jack C. Buck
to buy Deer Michigan in paperback, click here
a collection of micro fiction, released December 2016
ISBN (paperback) 978-1-925536-25-6 / ISBN (eBook) 978-1-925536-26-3
What people are saying about Deer Michigan
Jack Buck’s prose is sharp and surgical, perfect for probing everything from the coming water wars to the interior lives of birds. Buck’s interests and insights range far and wide. So do his affections: in gentler stories he offers homages to Jack Kerouac and Jim Harrison, an ode to late-night winter road trips, some tough love for Detroit—all of it delivered in a highly personal, arrestingly intimate voice.
Lean as they are, Jack Buck’s stories also deliver some stunning atmospherics: “What else was there to do in early March with the Michigan wind blowing snow into everyone’s house?” There are moments of willful exile; spontaneous escape; even a bizarre encounter with Mao, a devoted practitioner, in his dotage, of small naps (who knew?). Each of these brief stories is a window on a world of Buck’s choosing; it’s our good fortune that he inhabits so many worlds at once, and such fascinating ones. In their very compression the stories invite us to focus on the people and things nearest to us while never losing sight—not once—of what beckons from the far horizon.
~ Edward Hamlin, author of Night in Erg Chebbi and Other Stories
Jack Buck’s collection is more than a play on words for the title, it’s word play, story after story. ‘Dead Jack Kerouac’ is a one long sentence story with a forgetful narrator trying his hardest to tell a Kerouac anecdote that begins with, “Forget how it goes.” A brilliant concept and an equally brilliant opening. Another favorite of mine could only have been written by a baseball fan, ‘Detroit Hustles Harder’. Again, Buck comes up with great premise and has the chops to pull it off. His ‘Great Flood’ story opens with prostitutes and drug dealers escaping a flood by seeking shelter in a bookstore. That’s enough of a tease to make you want to read this story and the entire collection. Buck has a unique voice and writing style and this is a book you’ll not only want to read but one you’ll want to share.
~ Paul Beckman, author of Peek: a flash collection
“Something quite wonderful happens when you allow yourself to drift through life without a plan of direction,” writes Jack Buck in his poignant debut story collection. The writing in Deer Michigan takes this philosophy to heart, embracing the flux of fate in over fifty ethereal narratives. In one story we meet an exiled Mao on a hiking trail, in another the narrator mourns the graceful disappearance of birds. Buck’s stories ripple with nostalgia, a reverence for the natural world and an America with room in which to wander. Though the stories in Deer Michigan are short—in one case spun out in a single sentence—they bottle up an expanse of human experience, offering us a stunning universe of feeling.
~ Allegra Hyde, author of Of This New World
Jack Buck’s writing here is not trying to trick or dazzle you. It moves with a sincerity that invokes the past and future into a tender present. And from this tender present, Deer Michigan allows us to re-imagine possibilities of being and feeling.
~ Steven Dunn, author of Potted Meat
Loose and freewheeling, yet compact, these stories by Jack Buck are streamed through with insight and emotion. The stories of Deer Michigan are quietly startling, awake, and original. Highly recommended.
~ Kathy Fish, author of Wild Life, Rift and Together We Can Bury It
Jack Buck’s surreal, stream-of-consciousness pieces are populated with dictators, ghosts, and regular folks. His characters confront water shortage, root for the Detroit Tigers, and talk to migrating birds. Prepare yours yourself for the environmental apocalypse by reading this book!
~ Kathleen Founds, author of When Mystical Creatures Attack!
What is remarkable about Buck is how much he actually loves the ordinariness of things. He has a Chestertonian fascination with the unremarkable fact that public transportation works, that people meet and have families, that good neighbors rake leaves for one another.
~ Max Heidelberger, in Maudlin House
His writing capitalizes almost poetically on a mood, and draws the reader through that mood, regardless of the outcome of the story. Many stories will invite a second read and a share.
~ Sarah Wheeler, flash fiction editor, Newfound
Sample this in bite-sized pieces, turn the pages as you would a desk calendar, make it last. Read another book simultaneously. Read it in one go and you might think “was that it?” or be disappointed by the absence of plot and structure, but savor it over days or weeks, and Deer Michigan comes to life as perhaps the reader fills in the plot-blanks with his or her own memories.
~ Simon Pinkerton, in Necessary Fiction
Buck isn’t afraid to excise the unnecessary, to take a beat, and to let sentences stand and sing for what they are. And it’s in this execution that the aforementioned themes are handled not only with honesty, but with rays of hope.
~ Garrett Dennert, in Orson’s
In Deer Michigan, Buck masterfully invites us into moments where we’ll try to make sense of what happens in life, be them difficulties or triumphs, and reminds us that life will carry on.
~ Santino Prinzi, in SmokeLong Quarterly
Buck’s talent as a writer lies in describing any given sliver of life so well and with such detail that one can’t help but be there, wherever there is. But he also somehow manages to encourage your own memories and imaginings of times real or dreamt of.
They are simple stories and, while you could read these at a surface level and enjoy yourself, there is enough contained within them to provide hours of dissection.
~ Joseph Edwin Haeger in The Big Smoke
The narrator imagines planting an artificial Christmas tree in a Michigan forest, and this strange and hopeful image captures perfectly the wanderings of the watchful, sensitive intelligence inhabiting this book.
~ Lina Chern in The Collagist
More often than these bizarre, fabulist tales, however, the best of his work lies in the fractured realities of his more realistic fictions.