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Peach seed -- Trinity -- People -- Flying lessons -- Open twenty-four hours -- Fashion in the third world -- The principles of flotation -- The venus tree -- The barrel racer -- Close water


In The Venus Tree Michael Pritchett powerfully explores the themes of lost innocence— innocence abandoned, stolen, and occasionally regained or revisited. As his characters encounter many emotionally charged and sometimes profoundly unsettling situations, Pritchett's sympathetic writing renders their struggles with deft, compassionate, and lyrical strokes.

In "People," the owner of a souvenir shop on the interstate highway befriends a young woman who he believes can help him overcome the poverty of his own background. A widower in "Time Lines" must come to grips with the death of his wife before he loses the woman who tries to help him through his grief. And in "Flying Lessons," a young man dramatically tries to flee his mother and her strong, damaging influence.

Set in Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, and other midwestern and western states, these stories have a grit and an authenticity that set them apart from other current fiction. Against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, of open plains and fertile farmland, of skeet shooting and hunting, Pritchett's characters confront lives that reverberate with truth.

Series Title

John Simmons Short Fiction Award

Award Date



Stone, Robert

Publication Date



University of Iowa Press


Iowa City

Total Pages


ISBN of Print Version



lost innocence


Copyright © 1988 by Michael Pritchett. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording, without permission in writing from the publisher.

The Venus Tree