We are so excited to share more details of our upcoming MG Press title to be published Spring of 2017, the short fiction collection We Could’ve Been Happy Here by Keith Lesmeister!
From the back cover: 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 by robbing a bank; the daughter of a deployed soldier wages 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.
We Could’ve Been Happy Here has already received some wonderful advance praise from the following folks:
“A lovely heartache of a collection.”
—Benjamin Percy, author of The Dead Lands, Red Moon, Thrill Me, The Wilding and Refresh, Refresh
“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
In addition, you can pre-order a copy of the book for only $1, and save 20% off the cover price when it launches in 2017.