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Not Normal, Illinois: Peculiar Fictions from the Flyover (Quarry Books) Paperback – August 26, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: Quarry Books
  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Quarry Books (August 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253210224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253210227
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,987,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"As a Midwestern-born-and-reared writer myself, I have always wondered where the New Stories from the Midwest and its ilk are. Michael Martone’s wonderful anthology, Not Normal, Illinois, explains this void in a way I’ve always instinctively suspected: rather than being too bland, we Midwesterners are too profoundly and intimidatingly whack. This is a funny, scary, challenging, sublime book. The Gothic South ain’t got nothin’ on us." —Robert Olen Butler, Intercourse: Stories, 2008

"Here's a real carousel of a collection, stories that rotate, more or less, around the midwest of most of their settings, though "settings" would imply fiction of a more traditional sort and these outings are bright and flashy constructions, conceptual and timely to a fault, but full of fun and pathos, erudition and outrage, 33 whirling rides, all exciting and illuminating, by a number of familiar practitioners, such as Rikki Ducornet, Robert Coover, George Saunders, and some newer kids on the block, like Lily Hoang, Erin Pringle, Michael Wilkerson. The amusement continues in the contributors' notes -- all brought together by that most accomplished of literary midway barkers, Michael Martone. Climb aboard! You won't regret it." —William O'Rourke, Notts and Criminal Tendencies

"Michael Martone succeeds in corralling a wonderful array of tales, one that would make all Midwest folk, snapping the straps on their overalls and sniffing the apple pie on the ledge, right proud." —American Book Review

"Just as the Midwest, this vast, various, and unclassifiable place, is not nearly so conventional as it's reputed to be, the literature of the heartland has a long tradition of original, innovative writing that is flourishing today more than ever." —Porter Shreve, author of The Obituary Reader

"Not Normal, Illinois is a fine and strongly recommended read for any who want a sampling of mid-western philosophy." —Library Bookwatch, December 2009

"The Midwest can be derided as being the middle of nowhere, but Not Normal, Illinois makes a stong case that it's actually in the middle of everywhere. The ordered grids of farm land you see as you gaze out the window of a plane flying over this vast, unpopulated region are a deception—look closer and you'll see immense literary talent sprouting from and feeding off this fertile loam." —, Spring 2010

"Google Earth notwithstanding, those of us who live in the Midwest know it is not really a flyover zone but another intriguing planet, and the writers in this volume understand that. They have developed new fictional forms for new life forms—their stories are surprising, funny, moving, challenging, and weird in equal measure. I plan to use this collection in the earthbound classroom and hereby nominate Michael Martone for intergalactic editor-in-chief." —Valerie Sayers, Brain Fever, 1996

"This anthology is an unusually insightful one and serves an important purpose in the context of American fiction writing." —R. M. Berry, Florida State University

About the Author

Michael Martone is Professor of English at the University of Alabama–Tuscaloosa. He is the author of seven works of fiction, including The Blue Guide to Indiana and Michael Martone; two collections of fiction, The Flatness and Other Landscapes and Unconventions: Attempting the Art of Craft and the Craft of Art; and an anthology, Double-wide (IUP, 2007); and editor of six volumes.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
There's just something about being in the middle of it all. "Not Normal, Illinois: Peculiar Fictions from the Flyover" is a collection of short fiction from many Midwestern writers as they offer their own viewpoints and unique takes on the world through their writing. Thirty three stories bring readers to a very complete and comprehensive set of ideals that is sure to entertain as well as enlighten. "Not Normal, Illinois" is a fine and strongly recommended read for any who want a sampling of mid-western philosophy.
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