Published December 2021 by Willow Springs Books
Winner of the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction
In Sustainable Living, the backwoods and small towns of the upper Midwest are places not to run from, but to return, to seek refuge, and to discover unsettling truths.
In “Meat Raffle,” a woman returns to the carp fishing village where she grew up, only to discover that her widowed mother has found happiness with a decades-younger man. In the aftermath of trauma, “Oktoberfest” finds a teenage girl caught between domestic duties and the pull of the natural world. In “White Birch Winter,” an aimless woman becomes a caretaker for her mother’s elderly ex-husband, an artistic recluse who is resistant to her efforts.
The women in these stories are tied to the land they inhabit, coming of age on rivers and lakes, among hunters and fishermen, dependent on tourist economies to make a living. Their desires are stifled by harsh climates, poverty, and difficult family relationships; what unites these characters is their quest to sustain themselves and a longing for connection—sometimes found in unexpected people and places.