An orphaned boy fights to keep the dilapidated home that contains the memory of his family. A sawyer's nephew scrambles to recall the skills of the trade in the wake of his uncle's death. A corrections teacher strains to give his son direction in a remote prison town after his addict mother deserts them. These stories create a portrait of the difficult decisions people must make in unforgiving surroundings and the consequences of the battle to press on.
Published in cooperation with Association of Writers and Writing Programs.
"This well-crafted collection focuses on American-born characters—underclass, poor drifters. Strewn, along with images of bums, cripples, addicts, gutted houses, trash-covered streets, and wrecked farms, are images of startling beauty. The depiction of the physically and psychologically injured characters achieves lightness because of the enchanting writing style, the fact that they usually deal with their situations stoically, and most of all the strain of humor running through the stories. The prose is sparse, but the universe the author creates is deep and full of underlying reverberations of questions and sometimes answers, as the characters move through their days that are filled with obstacles and tragedies."—Nahid Rachlin, author of Jumping over Fire
"Eric Neuenfeldt's stories defy a trend in contemporary fiction. You won't find clever tricks here—no magic show, no pyrotechnics. Rather, his characters—his people—are weather-wise doers. They seek and possess bodies of knowledge that inform their triumphs as well as their troubles. And Neuenfeldt writes with diction that is muscular and also a little musical in its respect for a thing done well, whether that thing is fishing or bike polo or tuning a bent human heart. Wild Horse is my favorite collection since Wells Tower' s Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned."—Jon Billman, author of When We Were Wolves
"Winner of the Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction, this heartland-set collection is uniformly fine reading."—Library Journal
"Neuenfeldt creates detailed, fully formed people whose histories and futures feel deep and real, while his descriptions and dialogue keep readers grounded in the moment. Whether in a subbasement of a wheel-making factory or an iced-over pond in a prison town, Neuenfeldt's settings are created with such care that readers will feel themselves lingering well after the last page."—Booklist
"Neuenfeldt's attention lingers as closely on setting as F. Scott Fitzgerald's lingered on people's faces in The Great Gatsby, using the macro-level physical details to tell a lot of the story."—Reno News & Review