We Could’ve Been Happy Here by Keith Lesmeister

Cover photo © 2017 Alec Josaitis“A lovely heartache of a collection.”
Benjamin Percy, author of The Dead Lands, Red Moon, Thrill Me, The Wilding and Refresh, Refresh

Print – $15.00


Shop for eBooks – $4.99

Paperback 5″ x 8″
List price: $15 Print / $4.99 ebook
ISBN: 978-1-944850-05-0
Publisher: MG Press
Release date: May 16, 2017
Language: English

Description

In his first collection of short fiction, Keith Lesmeister plows out a distinctive vision of the contemporary Midwest. A recovering addict chases down a herd of runaway cows with a girl the same age as his estranged daughter. A middle-aged couple rediscovers their love for one another through the unlikely circumstance of robbing a bank. A drunken grandmother goads her grandson into bartering his leftover booze for a kayak. The daughter of a deployed soldier wages a bloody war on the rabbits ravaging her family’s farm.

These stories peer into the lives of those at the margins–the broken, the resigned, the misunderstood. At turns hopeful and humorous, tender and tragic, We Could’ve Been Happy Here illuminates how we are shaped and buoyed by our intimate connections with others—both those close to us, and those we hardly know.

Events

Keith Lesmeister has a series of events coming up for We Could’ve Been Happy Here. Don’t miss out on these opportunities to meet him and hear about the collection!

Advance Praise

“A gritty, emotionally sensitive clutch of stories.”
Kirkus Reviews

Called “A Notable Fiction Review” by Poets & Writers

“The Middlewesterners in Keith Lesmeister’s charming collection We Could’ve Been Happy Here share more in common with Ethan and Joel Coen’s Fargo than any of Willa Cather’s stalwart pioneers. But these characters and their stories are perfectly authentic, hilarious, and offbeat. This collection is the genuine article.”
Nickolas Butler, author of Shotgun Lovesongs and The Hearts of Men

“These are brutal stories—brutally good, brutally urgent, brutally hopeful.  In this extraordinary collection, Keith Lesmeister has granted his lucky readers a rare and stirring look into the soul of the middle west.  His prose is as clean as the prairie wind, his characters as dangerous and refreshing as summer storms.We Could’ve Been Happy Here is a real achievement, a book that won’t let you go and you’re all the better for it.”
Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This and Corpus Christi: Stories

“Once in a great while, you pick something up, and its great, subtle beauty hits you slowly and hard like the wave of an ocean. That’s the case for We Could’ve Been Happy Here, except the ocean is in Iowa. I’ve lived in the world that Lesmeister is showing us for over a decade, and the people who inhabit this collection are strange and sad and unique, and deeply familiar; I hurt for them. Collections like this only come around once in a while.”
Erika T. Wurth, author of Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend

“The deceptively quiet stories in Keith Lesmeister’s We Could’ve Been Happy Here lay bare the inner lives of deceptively ordinary people in the deceptively normative state of Iowa. Like a heartland Chekhov, Lesmeister artfully refuses to tell us how things turned out—did that slacker stay sober? did that nice middle-aged couple who robbed a bank on a lark ever get caught? Instead, he reveals how things are in his characters’ souls: often strange and dark, yet not without hope and love.”
David Gates, author of Preston Falls and A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me

Reviews

“The significance of such tiny [human] interactions, and how they change people and their circumstances, is the heart of Lesmeister’s collection, pumping its essence throughout each story and infusing it with life.”
—Bret Farley, Rain Taxi

“There’s a wonderful endlessness in these stories.”
—Barrett Warner, Atticus Review

“These are deceptively quiet stories that display a talent for wit and lightness sprinkled alongside a heap of angst.”
—Terry Melia, Sabotage Reviews

“Readers who seek a collection with a strong connection to place and setting would do well to pick up We Could’ve Been Happy Here.”
—Jen Corrigan, Medium

“The stories in Keith Lesmeister’s forthcoming collection[…]strike the perfect balance between humor and sadness, love and loneliness.”
—Books, Personally

About the Author

Keith LesmeisterKeith Lesmeister was born in North Carolina, raised in Iowa, and received his M.F.A. from the Bennington Writing Seminars. His fiction has appeared in American Short Fiction, Slice, Meridian, Redivider, Gettysburg Review, and many other print and online publications. His nonfiction has appeared in Tin House Open Bar, River Teeth, The Good Men Project, and elsewhere. He currently lives in northeast Iowa where he teaches at Northeast Iowa Community College. We Could’ve Been Happy Here is his first book.

17 Responses to “We Could’ve Been Happy Here by Keith Lesmeister”

  1. Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal » Blog Archive » Pre-Order We Could’ve Been Happy Here Says:

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  2. Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal » Blog Archive » Announcing MG Press Titles Says:

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  3. Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal » Blog Archive » Announcing 2017 MG Press Titles Says:

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  4. Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal » Blog Archive » We Could’ve Been Happy Here Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews Says:

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  5. Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal » Blog Archive » Keith Lesmeister interviewed by FOLIO Says:

    […] Lesmeister, whose collection We Could’ve Been Happy Here is forthcoming from MG Press in May, was recently interviewed by FOLIO Lit […]

  6. Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal » Blog Archive » Upcoming Events – Keith Lesmeister / We Could’ve Been Happy Here Says:

    […] Lesmeister has a series of events coming up for his debut collection of short fiction, We Could’ve Been Happy Here. Don’t miss out on these opportunities to meet him and hear about the collection that’s […]

  7. Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal » Blog Archive » We Could’ve Been Happy Here: Happy Pub Day to Keith Lesmeister’s debut collection! Says:

    […] finally here! Today is the launch day of Keith Lesmeister’s incredible collection We Could’ve Been Happy Here – just in time for your summer […]

  8. Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal » Blog Archive » We Could’ve Been Happy Here Reviewed by Medium Says:

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  9. IF MY BOOK: We Could've Been Happy Here, Keith Lesmeister | Says:

    […] Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors shed light on their recently released books by comparing them to weird things.This week Keith Lesmeister writes about his debut story collection, We Could Have Been Happy Here, out now from Midwestern Gothic. […]

  10. Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal » Blog Archive » More We Could’ve Been Happy Here Reviews and Interviews Says:

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  11. Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal » Blog Archive » Keith Lesmeister Interviewed on Iowa Public Radio Says:

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  12. Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal » Blog Archive » Keith Lesmeister Interviewed by Michigan Quarterly Review Says:

    […] with Keith Lesmeister, now up on Michigan Quarterly Review‘s blog site! Keith discusses We Could’ve Been Happy Here, emotional connections in literary fiction, sharing pain with characters and […]

  13. Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal » Blog Archive » We Could’ve Been Happy Here review from Atticus Says:

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  14. Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal » Blog Archive » Summer 2017 issue – cover and contributor listing Says:

    […] our first bi-annual issue this past winter, we published Keith Lesmeister’s collection We Could’ve Been Happy Here in May to great acclaim, and will be publishing Anna Prushinskaya’s exciting essay […]

  15. My CutBank Interview with Keith Lesmeister – Denton Loving Says:

    […] Lesmeister about his new collection of stories, We Could’ve Been Happy Here (published by Midwest Gothic Press). Lesmeister lives and works in rural northeast Iowa, and all 12 of these stories explore the […]

  16. Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal » Blog Archive » We Could’ve Been Happy Here reviewed by Rain Taxi! Says:

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  17. Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal » Blog Archive » We Could’ve Been Happy Here, a novel by Keith Lesmeister (MG Press) Says:

    […] Read more about We Could’ve Been Happy Here […]

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