'Best Indie Books of 2022' awarded to "Stay with Me, Wisconsin" by Kirkus
In January of this year, Flying Ketchup Press launched a new imprint for literary fiction Coyote Point Press with its first book "Stay With Me, Wisconsin," a collection of eleven short stories by author JoAnneh Nagler. Kirkus Reviews announced today it has listed this "sublime, interconnected wonder" as one of the "Best Indie Books of 2022."
Reviewing thousands of books through their Indie program every year, only 100 books make this eagerly awaited annual Best Books list. To celebrate this incredible honor to such a young press (Flying Ketchup Press enters its fifth year in 2023), the book will be coming out with a hardbound jacketed edition next month on the anniversary of its release.
The first sign of the book's success began with five-star reviews from Reedsy and IndieReader, culminating in high honor, a Silver Medalist in The Global Book Awards earlier this year. Now, "Stay With Me, Wisconsin" proves again it's the "Must-Read" Reedsy and other reviewers insist it to be. Congratulations again to author JoAnneh Nagler, Coyote Point Press, and Flying Ketchup Press. Find the other 99 Kirkus 'must-read books' of 2022 in the December 15th issue today's issue of Kirkus Reviews magazine and on their website beginning Monday, December 19th, 2022.
"A debut volume of short stories features individuals in realistic, if uncompromising, situations.
The 11 tales in Nagler’s collection encompass the kinds of relatable themes readers will recognize, like survival, longing, connection, grief, and the bonds of family, with each playing out across America’s wind-swept dairy landscape and beyond. The tender, intimate opener, “Ponty Bayswater,” chronicles the beautifully fluid love life of a war veteran and insurance salesman who learned about the mechanics of sexuality at age 12 from his “loopy Aunt Violet.” Readers will get a sense of the author’s uncanny knack for intriguing characterization from her description of Violet, who spoke with a “nicotine bark” and sported “pink cat-eye glasses with fake diamonds, had a head of tightly curled gray and black hair and wore bright red lipstick, even at home.” The evolution of families forms the framework for other stories, like “Asa at the Foundry,” in which passion and pain bloom amid “stupid summer heat.” In “Maximus,” a Mexican son transcends cultures when he immigrates to America by car trunk. The pain of parental loss is brilliantly captured in “Fishing,” as a daughter’s grief is only soothed by her desire to remember her father by fishing in the Wolf River. The most moving stories encapsulate the epiphany felt by characters who discover love in unexpected places. The callousness of a perfume journalist’s mean boyfriend in “Leaving Lefty” forces him to reevaluate how he recovers from broken relationships to better appreciate “who is there to love me and let me love them back.” Among the collection’s shorter, more potent tales is the unforgettably gritty, nine-page yarn “Claire Rose,” which portrays how a traumatized wife processes a horrific ordeal involving her child. Nagler sketches in the difficult details of healing and the grief and anger that eventually yield to places where “pink flowers come up year after year without being asked, in a place they’re not supposed to grow.” Whether the stories concern age, death, cruelty, or love, the author creates bold, authentic characters with no choice but to adapt to circumstances they’d never expected in order to proceed with strength and grace. Orbited by players who are bound by mortality, ancestry, pathos, and perseverance, this emotionally satisfying volume becomes a sublime, interconnected wonder.
An outstanding collection of tales with delightfully diverse and memorable characters.
Two interviews with Nagler this month reveal that she is not only a fiction writer but a serious musician, playwright, and artist with an amazingly down-to-earth attitude about "How to Be an Artist Without Losing Your Mind, Your Shirt, or Your Creative Compass" also the title of one of her earlier nonfiction books published by W.W. Norton. Growing up in Wisconsin, the author now lives in San Francisco and was recently interviewed by the Pasadena Public Library Authors and Their Journeys Program on her advice on the artist's life. Below, listen in for more from Nagler about her writing process of her award winning fiction collection in a recent interview by Mark at the Mic, the Burlingame California Historical Society's podcast, "Burlingame, it's a Small Town."
Looking back with 2022 Reviews and Endorsements:
“A sublime, interconnected wonder…Whether the stories concern age, death, cruelty, or love, the author creates bold, authentic characters with no choice but to adapt to circumstances they’d never expected in order to proceed with strength and grace. An outstanding collection of tales with delightfully diverse and memorable characters.”
Exceptionally powerful... profoundly moving…an instant classic. Nagler takes everyday life and turns it into something magical. Elegantly articulated and masterfully crafted with care, JoAnneh Nagler delivers eleven short stories that will stay in the hearts and minds of readers for a long time.
—Reedsy, Five Stars, “Must Read”
Stay with Me, Wisconsin is a collection of stories about ordinary bravery…they describe small, everyday wonders and do so with warmth and compassion. A remarkable collection of tales—uplifting and deeply humane…Love always finds a way.”
—IndieReader, Five Stars
“JoAnneh Nagler’s engrossing story collection, Stay with Me, Wisconsin, offers a finely honed and ultimately uplifting perspective on grief, love, intimacy, and healing.”
“Modern-day Midwestern short stories about love, loss, devotion and overcoming, with provocative brave characters who span the glacier-strewn lake towns of Wisconsin’s down-to-earth landscapes.”
—The New York Review of Books
“Nagler explores her characters’ inner landscapes, offering insight and prose luminous in embracing pain as well as love…Stirring, tender and encompassing, with distinct, full-bodied characters learning to become adults, the world of Stay with Me, Wisconsin is one readers will embrace.”
—Blue Ink Review, “Notable Book”
Blazingly original, sensual, and evocative of the contemporary cultural pulses…Brimming with realism, these stories brush the edges of the hearts of readers and remind them of their deepest human longings. Stay with Me Wisconsin is the work of an author whose stories capture our flawed world and the marvelous nature of our humanity.
—The Book Commentary, Five Stars
“Brought to light by emotionally vigorous passages that travel beyond the Midwest into the strange, foreign realms of the heart, Stay with Me, Wisconsin’s characters work their way inside the reader's soul, allowing access into delightfully unexpected regions of the sensual and the evocative.”
—Midwest Book Review
"Whether the stories concern age, death, cruelty, or love, the author creates bold, authentic characters with no choice but to adapt to circumstances they’d never expected in order to proceed with strength and grace. Orbited by players who are bound by mortality, ancestry, pathos, and perseverance, this emotionally satisfying volume becomes a sublime, interconnected wonder."
—The Global Book Awards, Silver Medalist Winner
Title: Stay With Me, Wisconsin
Date of Publication: January 18th, 2022
Author Website: www.anartistrylife.com
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Comps: Alice Monroe, Laurie Colwin, Richard Ford
TagLine: The literary richness of Paula McLain’s “The Paris Wife” meets the evocative sensuality of “Water for Chocolate,” set in the contemporary Midwestern Heartland.
Page count: 278
Price: $18.99 softcover. eBook price: $9.99 Hardcover: January 2023
Eleven sensual and modern-day short stories about love, loss, sex, devotion, and desire. Set in the small lake towns and suburbs of the country's Midwestern heartland, the tales thread from one heart to another with extraordinary effectiveness and power. Lovers, partners, family members and friends-they push courageously toward love, and often win. Intimate and impeccably crafted, they invite us into the passionate world of one of the most important new voices on the American literary scene. JoAnneh Nagler, author of "Naked Marriage," wows her fans again with her first foray into short fiction, where they will beg her to stay.
Media Questions: Hannah Andress email@example.com