Thanks to Denton Loving for his well-considered and spot-on review, and to Ploughshares for publishing it on their blog. (Btw, Ploughshares is currently looking to hire their regular bloggers for 2017. It’s a paid gig!)
Click on over to Ploughshares to read the whole review. Here’s a sample:
One character points out that the Romans believed whoever summoned the Furies “also ended up getting fucked over in the end.” No character in Bad Faith exemplifies that better that Aaron Kleinhardt. A series of heart-in-your-throat moments lead to a startling confrontation when Aaron becomes entangled with Amy, a young woman almost as confused and lonely as Aaron has been.
By anchoring his collection around Aaron Kleinhardt, Wheeler creates subtle connections. The stories feel linked in an understated but solid way, creating a canvas with more depth than any one short story alone could give. Wheeler’s characters are people we know. They are the people who have failed us, as well as the people we have failed. His stories are reminders that few things in this world are completely random. Not luck or grace or pain or violence. Certainly not death or karmic justice.
The last days of 2015 are dwindling, but there’s still a little time to sneak in some good news before the calendar turns. So…I’m happy to share that guest editor Lee Martin has picked my story “On a Train from the Place Called Valentine” to appear in the New Stories from the Midwest 2015 anthology!
The story was originally published in Boulevardand is now part of the title/anchor novella of my short fiction collection, Bad Faith, that will be out this summer from Queen’s Ferry Press. Here’s a post I wrote about the story before, and this one too. In short, “On a Train from the Place Called Valentine” is a psychological thriller that follows heroine Amy Gutschow after she jumps a freight train outside Aurora, Nebr and through her confrontation with a pathetic but dangerous ladies man, Aaron Kleinhardt, after she hops off the train in Valentine, Nebr.
Stories of mine made honorable mention in the two previous editions of New Stories from the Midwest. (“The Approximate End of the World” in 2012 and “The Current State of the Universe” in 2013.) I’m super excited to have one of mine make it in this time!
New Stories from the Midwest 2015 should be out in three months or so, and I’ll have more links, photos, and ordering information closer to the release.
Thanks so much to the Series Editors, Jason Lee Brown and Shanie Latham, guest editor Lee Martin, editor of Boulevard Richard Burgin, and New American Press for publishing the anthology!
My contributor copy of the Spring 2012 issue of Boulevardarrived in the mail today!
Not only does the issue contain my short story “On a Train from the Place Called Valentine,” but there’s also fiction by Stephen Dixon, non-fiction by John Barth and Josip Novakovich, and poetry by Albert Goldbarth, Andrew Hudgins, and Floyd Skloot, among many others. (Did I mention John Barth?!) It’s a pretty stellar lineup. One I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of.
Boulevard puts out such a consistently great product. It’s hard to believe this is my third story published by them. “Welcome Home” appeared in the Spring 2008 issue–before it was anthologized in Best New American Voices 2009 and received special mention in the back of Pushcart Prize XXXIV. “The Approximate End of the World” was in the Spring 2010 edition, and will be noted as a “Distinguished” story in a forthcoming edition of New Stories from the Midwest.
Here’s an excerpt of “On a Train from the Place Called Valentine”:
It isn’t until later, when the freezing wind cuts through her, that Amy Gutschow actually considers what she’s doing. This is late December after all and she’s riding north on the bed of a railcar after sunset. She nestles into her downy black coat, shoves her hands deep into its pockets, and waits for the train to pass through a town where she can jump into a grassy ditch and roll away from the rails. She’ll have to call her father, wherever she lands, and beg him to pick her up, the way she did in college. A tall man with a dopey mustache, her father would wear gray sweatshirts and blue jeans, if he came for her on a weekend, or a tweed jacket and corduroy pants if he had to take time off from work. He never asked why she needed him, but just came for her, humming almost happily as they returned home. “My baby girl,” he’d say, as if it were part of an old song. “What has happened to you now?”