2016 Foreword Indies Finalist, LGBT category
After the Plains queered him, Dave Madden decided to return the favor. This outstanding collection of short stories tells the tale of a different kind of difference—one not set in the glittering lights of New York or Los Angeles, but in the grand and wide American Midwest. For Madden’s characters, their queerness is part of the environment, like the soil, the sky, and the supermarket: an HIV-positive chemist uses football to connect with his brothers; a 17-year-old girl tussles with a cartoon cobra to avoid thinking about the mother who abandoned her; and a hotel concierge starts attending Mass even though his partner was molested by a priest. In seeking out the ordinary struggles of extraordinary people trying to figure out their place within families and communities, Madden masterfully explores what it means to be an outsider always looking in.