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There (probably) isn't actually a local club dedicated to the works of Idaho author Vardis Fisher. But those of us who love him--despite his many flaws, his misanthropic personality, his penchant for over-writing emotion and creating 12-novel conceptual cycles--well, we stick together. When we find each other in a crowded room, drawn like dogs to the mention of his first name, we tend the torch in quiet conversation aided by stiff drinks. What's your pick? Early or late? Did you tackle the Testament of Man? How many volumes did you make it? Have you been to the ruins of his house? It's not literary pretension, it's a genuine affection for a genuinely forgotten regional talent whose work always deserved more attention than it got. Ask a Fisherphile which of his books to read, and they'll tell you which one to "start with"--and almost all will give you a different answer. For the purposes of this blurb, one lonely Fisherphile sayeth that like a classic rock band, Fisher is best digested chronologically. Start with the early works, Toilers of the Hills and Dark Bridwell. They are as bleak, overburdened by detail, and depressingly triumphant as, well, life, and if you can still get up for your lame office job after finishing them, then you're a stronger person than Fisher.

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