Jesse Lee Kercheval
University of Nebraska Pres
On sale Oct. 1
The Alice Stories is a collection of chronological short stories detailing the life of Alice, a transplanted Floridian establishing herself in the milky tundra of Wisconsin. These are stories about family, in the broader sense, and the tensions that exist between the love we inherit and the love we create. Kercheval’s focal point is the heart, its capacity and its resilience. She focuses on the events and thoughts that form the framework of everyday existence, the kinds of occurrences that are too universal to ever be lifeless.
Kercheval’s prose is clean and quiet, observational and honest. One might be tempted to call it simple, but its words are careful and accurate. Alice, as a narrator, is in tune with her surroundings and describes her inner life evenhandedly, without gloss or deprecation. The real strength of these stories, though, is Kercheval’s ability to convey hope convincingly, not as a willful blindness, but as a potential source for the capacity to persevere through life’s most deceptively commonplace yet most difficult experiences.