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The Auctioneer

Published by USC Bedrosian Center on

The Auctioneer was released in 1976 with a campaign that likened it to “The Lottery.” That the novel reflects an ongoing fascination with the broken dream of a peaceful rural life.

Set in a farming community in New Hampshire, the Joan Samson creates a town of residents bracing for change, unsure of the future and looking toward an understood past. Farmers know that as city dwellers continue their flight to the interiors … the land they farm is worth more than the history of their town, the generations lived, or all the crops sewn.

The arrival of Perly Dunsmore, an auctioneer, takes that unease to new levels. Yet … he’s simply helping the townsfolk to sell off unwanted items. What is wrong with that?

Joan Samson’s The Auctioneer is a classic. Her characters live in a very different time, the horror they face remains entirely relatable.


Host Lisa Schweitzer is joined by Aubrey Hicks, Jeff Jenkins, and Stacy Patterson.

Thank you to our co-producers Aubrey Hicks and Jonathan Schwartz as well as our beloved sound supervisors, The Brothers Hedden. Recorded at the USC Price School.

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