Hollars, B.J.
Distribution: World
Publication date: 03/25/2013
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-00838-1
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2014 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection

B. J. Hollars’s debut short story collection offers ten thematically linked tales, all of which are out to subvert conventional notions of the Midwestern coming-of-age story. The stories feature an assemblage of Bigfoot believers, Civil War reenactors, misidentified Eskimos, and grief-stricken clowns, among other outcasts incapable of finding a place in their worlds. In these marvelous stories, we can join a family on a very 21st-century trip along the Oregon Trail, watch as a boy builds a brother from a vacuum cleaner, follow a sandlot baseball team as it struggles to overcome an invasion by its Native American neighbors, and experience how a high school basketball squad takes to Sasquatch roaming its court. This genre-bending collection charts a bizarre pathway through the thickets of life on the road to adulthood. Pushing the limits of realism, these stories capture the peculiar rites of passage of growing up Midwestern.

Author Bio

B. J. Hollars is author of Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence and the Last Lynching in America and Opening the Doors: The Desegregation of the University of Alabama and the Fight for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa. He is editor of You Must Be This Tall to Ride: Contemporary Writers Take You Inside the Story, Monsters: A Collection of Literary Sightings, and Blurring the Boundaries: Explorations to the Fringes of Nonfiction. He is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.


In Sightings, B. J. Hollars brings us stories of those on the fringe but does so with an open-eyed awe that is missing from much of today's fiction. These aren't weathered, been-there, done-that, tales but fresh, exciting tales of those coming of age.How I loved getting lost in the wilds of B. J. Hollars’s stories. Steeped in the landscape of the Midwest, the characters in Sightings push against their own strangeness and solitude in ways that thrill and astonish. This is a wonderful, richly-imagined debut.After reading a short story, my highest compliment is 'Damn I wish I’d have written that.' It must have sounded like a curse-fest took place in my house as I read B. J. Hollars’s hilarious Sightings, a collection of pitch-perfect stories. Fans of Kevin Wilson, Lewis Nordan, George Saunders, and Karen Russell need to add B. J. Hollars to their must-read list.Each of the ten stories in B. J. Hollars's Sightings offers a rare combination of humor, insight, and coming-of-age heartbreak. Taken as a whole, the book left me awestruck, dazed, as if I'd just had my own face-to-face with Sasquatch.In these amazing stories, which are rife with savagely entertaining characters, the most exhilarating sighting of all is Hollars’s adept humor and impeccable prose, page after page. Readers indeed come away with the feeling of having had a true encounter with the fantastic—this unique collection, a bildungsroman at the intersection of private journal and urban legend, is not to be missed.

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Table of Contents


Indian Village
Westward Expansion
The Clowns
Line of Scrimmage
Dixie Land
Loose Lips Sink Ships
Missing Mary

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