Stefanie Freele’s latest short story collection; Surrounded by Water (Press 53) includes the winning story of the Glimmer Train Fiction Open.
Her first collection, Feeding Strays (Lost Horse Press) was a finalist in the John Gardner Binghamton University Fiction Award and the Book of the Year Award.
Stefanie's published and forthcoming work can be found in magazines such as Five Points, Witness, Sou'wester, Mid-American Review, Western Humanities Review, Quarterly West, The Florida Review, Chattahoochee Review, American Literary Review, and Night Train. She is the former Fiction Editor of the Los Angeles Review.
Feeding Strays Short Stories by Stefanie Freele. Lost Horse Press.
A woman hides from her husband in a fish tank and another absently bakes sponges inside her tarts. Appliances drop from the sky, men grapple with chainsaws, women struggle with hormonal violence, and abandoned boys beg on doorsteps. Enter into the territory of broken people and the folks that love them. Sensitive and unruly, sincere and absurd, Stefanie Freele’s Feeding Strays is a collection of fifty short stories, both slipstream and modern, about children, family, relationships, and oysters.
Surrounded By Water Short Stories by Stefanie Freele. Press 53
I am so happy to find a writer saying things that only she could say. Stefanie Freele’s stories are full of surprising details, some sweet and strange, some sharp and close to the bone. She writes about women and men and babies. She writes about the things he carries (in his briefcase), the things she swallows, the way this baby floats in the air and the way that one makes a break for it. Lemon zest, unexpected dehumidifiers, pewy diapers, the salsa that speaks to us, frozen wildlife, too much to mention. Most of these honest and innovative stories are also very short. Freele knows how to make every note count when she names that tune—just this much and not a word more. Open this book and discover that sometimes a man in a banana suit really is just . . . well, you’ll have to find out for yourself. —Ray Vukcevich, author of Meet Me in the Moon Room
Feeding Strays is wonderful, full of strange, original invention. Never a cliche, seldom anything even resembling a wasted word, full of surprises, and in all ways gratifying. Motherhood didn’t seem to get in Ms. Freele’s hair or her computer in the slightest, except perhaps to reinforce what was lurking in the bottom of her mind, waiting to be let loose. —David Wagoner, author of A Map of the Night
As its title suggests, Feeding Strays is a deeply compassionate collection. Stefanie Freele has a knack for capturing stray moments in her characters’ lives—moments most writers would overlook—and charging them with a strange and wondrous grace. These stories will unsettle you, inspire you, and make you feel part of the greater human family. —Gayle Brandeis, author of The Book Of Dead Birds, Fruitflesh, and Self Storage
These expert, graceful mini-portraits of the life-jostled, the uncallused, and all the others who struggle with familyhood, are moving, sensitive, funny, and true. Stefanie Freele is a writer with a grip on the human spirit. —Deb Olin Unferth, author of Vacation
How I love the stories of Stefanie Freele for their endless surprises, their lemon-tart humor, their beautiful-ugly characters. I’m not always certain how she accomplishes her magic—her stories as quick as a shell game—but I am certain that you will set down this book as I did, with a hurt heart and a curious smile. —Benjamin Percy, author of Refresh, Refresh and The Language of Elk
Stefanie Freele is a terrific writer. Her stories are funny, surprising, poignant when you least expect it, and true even at their most exaggerated. Her books (this is her second) are literary gems. If you like fiction that packs a lot of story into a very few pages, if you enjoy the likes of Ray Vukcevich or Lydia Davis, if you wonder what Italo Calvino would have been like as an American woman raising a family, then this book deserves your attention.
At this stage of a young writer's career, someone is liable to say something like, "Stefanie Freele is a writer to watch!" That usually means that the reviewer expects better work ahead. While acknowledging that any writer is liable to get better over the course of a career, Freele isn't a writer to watch so much as a writer to read right now. Don't wait. Start reading her now. Bruce Holland Rogers