Mistakes by the Lake

Brian Petkash (Author)


Set in Cleveland, Ohio, from its earliest beginnings as a forested frontier to the urban blight of modern times, Mistakes by the Lake is a collection of ten thematically linked stories spanning the many faces of the city's history: A motorman navigates his 1920's back-and-forth trolley until he snaps; A stockyards knocker encounters the Virgin Mary during the 1954 World Series; A wannabe wrestles his unruly mind along the flammable 1960's Cuyahoga River; In a reinvention of Henry IV, a young man must either stick with his bumbling criminal crew or uncover legit ways to support his mother and transgender Gramps.

The collection and its stories have garnered numerous accolades: Finalist: Nilsen Prize (Southeast Missouri State University); Winner: The Lake Prize in Fiction (Midwestern Gothic); Shortlisted: The Novella Award (Liverpool John Moores University); Shortlisted: Munster Literature Centre's Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition; Honorable Mention: Family Matters Contest (Glimmer Train). Praise for the novella, Mistakes by the Lake: "Full of action, movement, tension and shocks. T he world of the Cleveland stockyards and its denizens is brought to life with verve, skill and command" (Vulpes Libris).

Product Details

Madville Publishing
Publish Date
May 28, 2020
5.5 X 0.47 X 8.5 inches | 0.59 pounds

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About the Author

Brian Petkash was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from University of Tampa and his stories have appeared in Midwestern Gothic and Southword, among other publications. He currently lives in Tampa, Florida, where he remains an avid fan of Cleveland sports.


"Part adventure narrative, part love letter to Cleveland, this collection uses history to illuminate and elevate trailblazers, troublemakers, and tinkerers. This book is a tribute to the American experience." --Tasha Cotter, author of Astonishments

"Each chapter about this city in Ohio throbs with love, intensity, devotion, and creativity. Epic, ambitious, gorgeous, and deeply felt, all of the stories in Mistakes by the Lake add up to a book at least as old, important, and beautiful as the grand old city of Cleveland itself." --Nathan Deuel, author of Friday Was the Bomb and frequent Los Angeles Times book critic

"Mistakes by the Lake is a stunning literary achievement. The prose is luminous and compassionate, the themes are complex and resonant, the characters are riveting and heroic. You won't soon forget them, and you won't want to." --John Dufresne, author of I Don't Like Where This Is Going

"The settings of these stories are authentically Cleveland, but the terrain is the full range of human emotion. From a trolley driver searching the tracks for purpose to a war veteran wounded by the loss of his wife, Petkash binds together a disparate cast of characters with threads of hope and humanity." --R. Dean Johnson, author of Californium

"[Petkash] makes us feel the acute and sepia-toned pain of what could have been. What we could have been." --Stefan Kiesbye, author of Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone and Berlingeles

"Brian Petkash is the Bard of Cleveland. He's a perceptive teller of poignant tales that are both regional and universal. That's a compelling combination." --Tony Macklin, film critic and author of Palestra

"Call it historical fiction if you must, but Petkash forges from the fire of a burning river a new view on the American city everyone loves to hate and hate on." --Jeff Parker, author of Ovenman