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The Lager Queen of Minnesota: A Novel Hardcover – July 23, 2019
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“This charmer of a tale is a loving ode to the Midwest, the power of persistence and, perhaps above all, beer. . . Warm, witty and--like any good craft beer--complex, the saga delivers a subtly feminist and wholly life-affirming message.”
“This generous spirit makes The Lager Queen of Minnesota a pleasure to read and the perfect pick-me-up on a hot summer day.”
“Delightfully intoxicating. . . will make you smile with its droll humor, and its poignant moments will stop you to reread and confirm that they are really that good. In beer-geek slang, Stradal’s novel is ‘crushable’ — easygoing, well-balanced, super-drinkable with tons of flavor … and will make you go back for more.”
“In Stradal’s follow-up to his best-selling debut, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, the Minnesota native’s energetic prose once again captures the optimism of the heartland.”
“Complex female characters, tragedies, and descriptions. . . will awaken all your senses. . . The book is The Lager Queen of Minnesota, but this release could cement J. Ryan Stradal as the King of Midwestern novels.”
“I read J. Ryan Stradal’s Kitchens of the Great Midwest on a flight. I buckled my seatbelt, opened the book and when I looked up again, the flight attendant was asking if I needed assistance getting off the plane. I didn’t, but now you know the spell this author can cast. He does it again with The Lager Queen of Minnesota.”
—Elisabeth Egan for The New York Times
“The fortunes and foibles of a brewery mirror the relationship between two sisters tussling over a family farm in this quirky, enchanting novel reminiscent of Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres.”
“Everything about this book satisfies — from how the characters grow to how beer-making is described to Stradal's hilarious assessment of lagers vs. IPAs. You may never drink a beer in ignorance again.”
—The Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Wonderful. . . Stradal’s gift for getting the reader to invest in these lives is particularly profound.”
—The Chicago Tribune
—New York Post
“Stradal's second novel goes down easy. Imbued with Midwestern references and the importance of a 'can-do' attitude, this warm, witty novel willappeal to fans of Curtis Sittenfeld and Meg Wolitzer.”
“This book tastes great, is quite filling and never bitter.”
“Stradal’s writing is sharp and funny while still managing to treat each character with warmth and respect. . . this is an ultimately hopeful and heartwarming story. . . . Readers will love watching these truly original characters overcome their challenges and take care of each other. An absolutely delightful read, perfect for a summer day with a good beer and a piece of pie.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Refreshing. . .This story about how a family business succeeds with generations of strong and determined women at the helm makes for a sometimes sad, sometimes funny, but always winning novel.”
“Brilliant. . . a love letter to the Midwest. . . it’s hard to put down not only because the storytelling is so seamless and the characters so relatable, but because the author's delight in the written word is so contagious.”
—Jen Sincero, #1 New York Times bestselling author of You Are a Badass
“Utterly charming. . . Stradal loves and knows his territory, and his affection for the Midwest—with all its stubbornness, stoicism, long memories, readiness to provide aid and quiet pride in excellence--gleams on every page.”
—Janet Fitch, bestselling author of The Revolution of Marina M.
“The Lager Queen of Minnesota is pure reading joy: warm, funny, informative, and full of heart. It is impossible not to root for Stradal's characters, who are so vivid, and relatable that you will miss them every time you set the book down; indeed, if you set it down at all.”
—Jonathan Evison, New York Times bestselling author of Lawn Boy
“Warm, whimsical, incredibly well-written and infused with Stradal’s signature sympathy for his characters--those everyday heroes we all know and love. . . a thorough delight, from beginning to end.”
—Nickolas Butler, internationally bestselling author of Shotgun Lovesongs
“Full of the easy-to-love quaffability of a perfect ale, Stradal’s The Lager Queen of Minnesota will warm your heart. With empathy, love, wisdom and humor on every page, I wish I could go back for more.”
–Jade Chang, author of The Wangs vs. The World
"The Lager Queen of Minnesota is the kind of book you think about all day, while at work, while speaking to someone else, while in line at the market. . . . I loved this book so much. I carried it with me like a talisman, marveling at the unique storytelling of J. Ryan Stradal, who knows his people so well. It's a portrait of America, of place and land and neighborhood, and, of course, a celebration of beer."
—Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon
"A book to make you laugh and cry and believe the best days of your life are still in front of you."
—Ben Loory, author of Tales of Falling and Flying
About the Author
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I read 'Kitchens of the Great Midwest ' (Stradal's debut), three times in three years and waited patiently for a second novel. Let me just say 'The Lager Queen of Minnesota ' was worth the wait!
Born and raised in Minnesota, the story and writing are accurate, very relatable, and made me smile. By the end my eyes were leaking, my heart was full, and my body was covered in goosebumps. Yep, it feels so good.
Kudos to Judith Ivey's narration and her emphasis on strong vowels, which is ever so Minnesotan, don'cha know.
Personally, the only disturbing factor is the use of profanity, especially the F-Bomb. The story reads better without it and would make one of the best 'Clean Reads List' were they edited out of the story.
'The Lager Queen of Minnesota' will make for many grand book group discussions, especially with some pie in a bottle ale! Skol!
I love how the writer tells the story of these impressive women. Although fictional, they are so relatable that I was imagining specific friends, family and acquaintances as I read.
My only complaint is that like 70% of the book is basically set up to crave beer! Not just any beer, but a craft, beer-snob beer! I'm not an IPA gal myself (unless balanced with a fruit) but even these descriptions had my mouth watering for something over 100 IBUs.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about how these ladies (and fellas) brewed their craft and it made me appreciate the process without muddying the story.
I was worried "The Lager Queen of Minnesota" wouldn't be as good as his first book, "Kitchens of the Great Midwest." Both tell excellent tales of women in the midwest as they find their calling in life. I now understand my own mother as I mutter the phrase "I love you both equally"
Definitely read "The Lager Queen." But be(er) warned that it pairs well with a nice locally brewed craft beer.
Otherwise - a pleasant enough read. The womens’ lives and how they worked through tough times was the most interesting to me. As a St Paul resident, fun to see references to places I know.
1. overcoming adversity, and
2. the world of beer.
Some readers complained about the story "jumping around:. Well each major segment's signpost it the date and the name of the major character. I don't know what could be clearer.
The story does have coherent theme and development.
And you don't need to be a Minnesotan to follow the geography - many authors move things around more aggressively than this one.
I felt I knew these characters, and I cared about what happened to them.
Good book by a good storyteller. I'll look for what else he creates in the future
I picked this book up because of my appreciation for the earlier novel and for an intriguing title.
This is a novel that is a wonderful intertwining about a bit of modern American family life, communities and, of course, beer making. It all hangs together very nicely and is well plotted and well paced.
I think Mr. Stradal was very thoughtful in his portrayal of how difficult it is for some families and individuals to make it in America - even if they are "trying". I think that any one who has asked themselves about the social safety net should read this book - it is not preachy but an effective reminder of why we have certain social programs. I also find that Mr. Stradal writes particularly compelling, strong female characters (men are a bit of side show in this book).
At the end of the book I reconsidered the title and thought that each reader must themselves decided just WHO, the title lager queen of Minnesota is referring to.
I highly recommend this book for both its thoughtfulness and its entertainment value.
Top international reviews
This book was fun to read, and hard to put down. The characters are very well developed and you feel their joys and pains as they do. They become real, not just words on a page. My only complaint is that the book ended. I want to know what happens to these characters next.
What a fun, endearing and interesting book that attests to the Midwest ethics. In a nutshell it is a family saga with microbrews and rhubarb pie.
Very entertaining by J. Ryan Stradal. I definitely look forward to more books from Mr. Stradal and will order his previous „Kitchens of the Midwest“ now.