Close Is Fine
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About the Author
Eliot Treichel is a native of Wisconsin, who now lives in Eugene, Oregon. He has an MFA from Bennington College and now teaches writing at Lane Community College. Eliot also works as a freelance writer, and is passionately committed to having a personal influence on his local literary community. His work has appeared in "Beloit Fiction Journal," "CutBank," "Passages North," and "Southern Indiana Review." "Close is Fine" is his first novel.
Pacific Northwest author Treichel debuts with a collection of short stories focused on the muted struggles of Midwestern blue collar characters to make sense of their messy, often reduced circumstances. The title story follows Tanner, a carpenter by trade, whose affair on the job with a younger woman has precipitated divorce from his wife Kirsten, a waitress. The downbeat Tanner seeks solace in erecting, with his pal Gerald, a replica howitzer. A more offbeat yarn like "Stargazer," set in 1957, concerns Walters, a shiftless bar owner, who buys his long-suffering wife, Tooty, an Electrolux vacuum cleaner for her birthday "and she loved it." Later, he trains an adopted black bear to wrestle with him in a professional stage act. Brian, a married elementary teacher in "On By," is drawn to a dogsledder named Rita. "I don't think I'll ever forget this," he says after riding on her sled, but before jumping into bed with her. The final story, "The Golden Torch," is about a widowed father and his divorced son who practice their firefighting skills while coping with their feelings of loneliness. All of these stories, with unadorned prose and universally male themes and a creeping sense of violence just ahead, offer broad appeal. A clear-eyed and perceptive debut. (Nov.)--Publisher's Weekly