- Paperback: 172 pages
- Publisher: Ooligan Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1932010459
- ISBN-13: 978-1932010459
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,099,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Close Is Fine Paperback – November 1, 2012
About the Author
Eliot Treichel is the author of the young adult novel A Series of Small Maneuvers, which received the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association Reading the West Award and the Oregon Book Awards Readers Choice Award. He is also the author of the short story collection Close Is Fine, which received the Wisconsin Library Association Literary Award. He thinks riding bikes uphill is fun, sandwiches are better with potato chips, and that no one should go to bed without a cookie. Originally from Wisconsin, he now lives in Oregon.
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(Full Disclosure: Though I genuinely enjoyed Close is Fine, I am currently a student worker at Ooligan Press, the publisher of this title.)
I'll begin by stating that Eliot's use of language in Close is Fine may not satisfy MFA graduates or literature snobs, but I personally found it to fit the stories in the book very well. The stories are all set in rural Wisconsin, but believe me when I say that Eliot's magic is in the way he makes the stories accessible to anyone (well, anyone with a Western culture, anyway). The stories are at once heartfelt, real, and touching -- from the bitter irony of "On By" to the theme of self-discovery in "Good Potato Soil", the book will reach you on an emotional level, I guarantee. You've lived some of these stories, or know someone who has, and you've been in the places that some of these characters have been (or, again, you know some people who have).
On that note, I'd like to touch on "Good Potato Soil". The dialogue in this story, to me, rings perfectly true. More than that, though, the characters are true. I've been where these boys are; destroying anything I can destroy without getting caught as a way to make sense of the weird state of the world around me (my parents' divorce, lackluster would-be father figures, friends who started doing drugs). Making trouble and not really sure why. There was a truth in this story that I wasn't really expecting to encounter and that was a pleasant surprise. This was easily my favorite story in the work.
I guess the best compliment I can give to Close is Fine is that it reads like nonfiction; the stories, situations, settings, and characters are made so real by Treichel's writing that you would swear that they were true. Fiction that can be read as truth is a rare thing -- Eliot even comes very close to being as good at it as my favorite short story writer, Andrew Dubus (whose "Killings" will probably always be my favorite short story).
Anyway, if you like short stories and you don't have the requirement that they feature some element of fantasy, science fiction, or horror, then Eliot Treichel's Close is Fine is a great set of stories to sit down with and kill a few hours.