Strange Cowboy by Sam Michel
Lincoln Dahl Turns Five

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"Sam Michel is such a smart, manic, virtuosic stylist . . . the kind of deep insights that make you suddenly and newly appreciative of the world around you."—George Saunders

There was a hot, high sun, a hard ground and a long way off to any certain water, and my wife, a tenderfoot, I thought, not immodest, seemed bent on ruined feet and spectacle, on making of herself to passing innocents a living proof of what could happen to a man and woman ventured too far off alone together in the desert. Yet who passed? Who could be so innocent? Snakes and ravens, rabbits, buzzards, toads-- these passed, these witnessed, and what could they have made from us?...I saw myself preceded by my wife. I wanted to follow her, feel what she felt; I thought that I might find myself absolved… Maybe I would get some. Somewhere in me was a cheerful voice assuring me that what this needed was our getting laid.

Here is the head of his home—the one to speak, surely—on the occasion of his son Lincoln Dahl Jr.'s fifth birthday. Wife and mother order him to engage with his boy, but he remains in his chair dreaming up the speech he'll give to convey his life and glory to his boy, meanwhile avoiding his child and all others, until forced from his chair. Here's cowboy Beckett, a man of wonder and excess.

Sam Michel is the author of Under the Light and Big Dogs and Flyboys.


About Sam Michel

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Sam Michel is the author of Under the Light, a collection of stories (Knopf), Lincoln Dahl Turns Five (Tyrant Books), and Big Dogs and Flyboys (Southern Methodist University Press). His fiction has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, The New York Tyrant, Epoch, and elsewhere. In 2008 Sam Michel won the Lidano Fiction Award--a contest for the best short fiction of the year. Sam Michel studied writing under Gordon Lish, who championed his writing and published Michel's first collection at Knopf. He received his MFA degree from the University of Florida.
Published December 4, 2012 by Tyrant Books. 272 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Westerns, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Strange Cowboy

Publishers Weekly

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In Michel’s stylistic new novel (after Big Dogs and Flyboys), Lincoln Dahl, a young father of introspective and hilariously fragile nature is in something of a psychic retreat from the relationships that define his life.

Oct 08 2012 | Read Full Review of Strange Cowboy: Lincoln Dahl ...

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“From here on out,” he decides, “I will dedicate myself to words and deeds of restoration.” A lesser Lincoln Dahl might have lived and died without having said what he felt, his mind like so many of ours, “a mailsack stuffed with unsent letters.” So for anyone trying and failing to match up meani...

Jan 14 2013 | Read Full Review of Strange Cowboy: Lincoln Dahl ...

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