Fifteen linked stories chart a true course through the lives of families, farmers, loggers, former classmates, and the occasional stripper. In the richly imagined town of Renata, Oregon, a man watches his neighbor's big-screen TV through binoculars, an errant son paints himself silver, mysterious electrical humming emanates from an enormous barn. In A Simplified Map of the Real World, intimate boundaries are loosened by history-and high above the strife and the hope and the often hilarious, geese seek the perfect tailwind. Stevan Allred's stunning debut deftly navigates the stubborn geography of the human heart.
When a fisherman receives a mysterious letter about his beloved's demise, he sets off in his skiff to find her on the Isle of the Dead. The Alehouse at the End of the World is an epic comedy set in the sixteenth century, where bawdy Shakespearean love triangles play out with shapeshifting avian demigods and a fertility goddess, drunken revelry, bio-dynamic gardening, and a narcissistic, bullying crow, who may have colluded with a foreign power.
A raucous, aw-aw-aw-awe-inspiring romp, Stevan Allred's second book is a juicy fable for adults, and a hopeful tale for our troubled times.