Karen Sagstetter’s wide and wise knowledge of the world gives vivid life to the wondrous interlocking stories that make up The Thing with Willie. From the emotional complexities of the title story—first-place winner of the prestigious Glimmer Train short-story competition—to “Sapphire Street”’s beautifully nuanced portrait of a shoestore owner’s life of quiet desperation, to the gripping, cinematic “Letters Home” and its depiction of Americans in Vietnam during the war, Sagstetter gives us a stunning series of narratives that traverse time and space.
writer and musician, author of Boy Drinkers, Falling Out of Bed in a Room with No Floor, and other books
Here is an exceptional collection of intensely humane and entertaining stories. Writing with tenderness and humor, Karen Sagstetter shows how two families with little in common share many of the same struggles. Hurricanes, war, and hardship unite them in the most unexpected ways, and in story after story, resilient family members take poignant actions that allow deep wounds to mend.
Mary Kay Zuravleff
author of Man Alive!, The Bowl Is Already Broken, and The Frequency of Souls