Deer Michigan by Jack C. Buck
In an interview with Amy Fusselman of Ohio Edit, author Jack C. Buck, a Michigan native, explains how moving away from his home state helped lead to the writing of his debut collection, Deer Michigan: “Every part of the country has its qualities, beauties and identity; yet it wasn’t until I was 1,200 miles away that I had time to reflect and notice the upper Midwest’s unique identity within America. If I had never went away from home nothing ever would’ve ever been written.”
This idea of not just going away from home, but being away from home, is an idea masterfully woven through several of the 60 flash stories that comprise this collection. Also given focus are the themes of loss, of the things and moments that tie families together, of the wounds industry inflicts upon the natural world, and of ordinary people wrestling with dead and dying things, be it an animal whose slaughter they just witnessed, or the fading glow of a love no longer shared.
Adding muscle and blood to the bones of these stories is Buck’s prose: strong, masculine, and reminiscent of authors like Jim Harrison and Jack Ridl, 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—it’s there, in the silences, in the walls and floorboards of the micro houses Buck has built in Deer Michigan.