The Alice Stories


The Alice Stories

Jesse Lee Kercheval

The Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction Series

240 pages


October 2007


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Wisconsin is not where Alice, a girl raised in Florida, meant to end up. But when she falls in love with Anders Dahl, a descendant of Norwegian farmers born for generations in the same stone farmhouse, she realizes that to love Anders is to settle into a life in Wisconsin in the small house they buy before their daughter, Maude, is born. Together, Alice and Anders move forward into a life of family, friends, and the occasional troubled student until they face their biggest challenge. Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Jesse Lee Kercheval’s The Alice Stories tells the tale of a family: the pain of loss and the importance of the love of friends in the midst of turmoil. As timely as the news yet informed by rich humor and a deep understanding of human character, the interlinked Alice Stories form a luminous tale of family life.

Author Bio

Jesse Lee Kercheval is Sally Mead Hands Bascom Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and director of the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. She is the author of seven books and two chapbooks. Her first story collection, The Dogeater, won the Associated Writing Programs Award in Short Fiction, and her memoir, Space, won the Alex Award from the American Library Association.


“Jesse Lee Kercheval performs some much-needed surgery on the human heart in this stunning new collection of stories by an author whose wry and touching perceptions make her one of the foremost chroniclers of our times.”—Jonis Agee, author of the novel The River Wife

“Daily life has never seemed more remarkable, or more fraught, or more ultimately plenteous than in these seductively readable Alice Stories. Like her literary namesake, Kercheval's Alice is the ideal companion—witty, warm, and, above all, clear-sighted—to this book's tour through a wonderland of surprise and ineradicable hope.”—Erin McGraw, author of the story collection The Good Life

“By turns hilarious and devastating, The Alice Stories form a tender and poetic chronicle of one woman's journey through time, love, motherhood, and Wisconsin. It is a marvelous example of how connected stories can, even more effectively than a novel, evoke a life in all its ranging, episodic, and emotional complexity.”—Anthony Doerr, author of the novel About Grace

“In these lucid, keenly intelligent stories, Jesse Lee Kercheval’s witty, tender, and bewildered Alice navigates the unpredictable landscape of adulthood—its irreplaceable gifts and stunning losses—and illuminates what it means to love. Kercheval is a deft, generous storyteller, her fiction mapping the confluence of profound experience, daily rhythms, and small, perfect absurdities. The Alice Stories is a beautiful, arresting collection.”—Nancy Reisman, author of the novel The First Desire

"Over the course of 10 beautifully shaped, deeply moving, funny, and utterly surprising linked stories, Kercheval, in prose as sparkling as snow in sunlight, considers how quickly things can stop making sense and how sustaining goodness truly is."—Donna Seaman, Booklist

“The stories ultimately form a coherent narrative, building to the extraordinarily powerful final story, ‘Night Dogs,’ which refocuses everything that precedes it.”—Quentin Miller, Review of Contemporary Fiction

Table of Contents

Alice in Dairyland



A Story Set in Germany


New Rooms



Family Portrait

Night Dogs


Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction

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