In As If We Were Prey Michael Delp presents working-class male characters who are tried, tested, and pushed to their limits. Struggling with the demons of childhood and the indignities of adult life, they work dead-end jobs, keep the peace within their families, and attempt to assert themselves against authority whenever they can. While Delp’s characters are fathers and sons, students and teachers, they all share a sense of alienation and melancholy that propels them to antics and ill-conceived plans. Although they hope that their rash actions will prove their independence, they generally only reveal their essential vulnerability.
Set mostly in small-town northern Michigan, Delp follows boys and full-grown men who know how to fight, fish, and hunt, but struggle to use those skills to overcome the emptiness and dysfunction of their day-to-day lives. A boy takes revenge on the neighborhood bully and watches his downfall with unexpected emotion, a man visits a tourist attraction with a caged bear and empathizes with the creature, a teacher quits his job and hits the road as a one-man trivia quiz show, a father shares his childhood stories of defeat with his young daughter and inspires her to settle a score, two men catch a giant bass and keep it in the bathtub all winter to fatten it to prize-winning size, and a Vietnam vet and shop teacher switches into combat mode to teach his students a chilling lesson.
The stories in As If We Were Prey are both humorous and haunting, fast-paced and tender. Fans of Delp’s writing as well as all readers of fiction will enjoy these stories of men pushing the limits of their lives.