B. J. Hollars is author of Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence and the Last Lynching in America and Opening the Doors: The Desegregation of the University of Alabama and the Fight for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa. He is editor of You Must Be This Tall to Ride: Contemporary Writers Take You Inside the Story, Monsters: A Collection of Literary Sightings, and Blurring the Boundaries: Explorations to the Fringes of Nonfiction. He is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
B. J. Hollarss debut short story collection offers ten thematically linked tales, all of which are out to subvert conventional notions of the midwestern coming-of-age story. The stories feature an assemblage of Bigfoot believers, Civil War reenactors, misidentified Eskimos, and grief-stricken clowns, among other outcasts incapable of finding a place in their worlds. In these marvelous stories, we can join a family on a very 21st-century trip along the Oregon Trail, watch as a boy builds a brother from a vacuum cleaner, follow a sandlot baseball team as it struggles to overcome an invasion by its Native American neighbors, and experience how a high school basketball squad takes to Sasquatch roaming its court. This genre-bending collection charts a bizarre pathway through the thickets of life on the road to adulthood. Pushing the limits of realism, these stories capture the peculiar rites of passage of growing up midwestern.