Natalie L. M. Petesch

Natalie L. M. Petesch has published ten previous books of fiction, including the Swallow Press titles Duncan’s Colony, Flowering Mimosa, Justina of Andalusia, and The Immigrant Train. She lives in Pittsburgh.

Listed in: Fiction · American Literature · Literary Studies

Photo of Natalie L. M. Petesch

“Memory, of course, is sometimes like a bucking horse, sometimes a runaway one, and one must control the reins until finally it stops, snorting with exhausted relief,” writes Natalie L. M. Petesch in her haunting new collection, The Confessions of Señora Francesca Navarro and Other Stories. Petesch immerses readers in the lives of people caught up in the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War, which left more than five hundred thousand dead.

"In The Confessions of Señora Francesca Navarro and Other Stories, Natalie Petesch has once again lent her passionate heart and passionate prose to stories and characters that live with heartbreaking honesty and dignity. These people and the events of their lives remain with me long after I put aside the pages where I met them."

Lewis Nordan, author of Wolf Whistle and The Sharpshooter Blues

The Immigrant Train · And Other Stories
By Natalie L. M. Petesch

In this short story collection, acclaimed author Natalie Petesch reaffirms for us our enduring debt to millions of immigrants who helped build America.

“This is gorgeous writing—intense, deeply felt, convincing. Taken one at a time, these stories succeed. Taken together, they sparkle.”

Steve Yarbrough

This collection of stories is, like Petesch’s previous work, distinguished by its brilliant lyrical intensity and by characters who are stunningly alive. It is a powerful collection about impassioned cultural conflicts in present-day Spain and Mexico; it is also a book about ourselves—how we have failed to love the Earth and have squandered our resources. In the title story, it is Justina Olivia who breaks the moral law of her village in an unforgettable love story.

“In a crystal-clear style, Petesch involves the reader with her three-dimensional characters who are portrayed neither patronizingly, nor melodramatically, though her sympathy and understanding are obvious. Very highly recommended.”


Flowering Mimosa is a story of lost innocence and coming of age among the disinherited of America in the 1980's. Against a backdrop of social and economic disruption in the American southwest, Petesch traces the fates of the Wingfield family, who have lost their Texas farm and moved to a mining town in Silver Valley, Idaho. As various tensions threaten to break the family apart, Tamsen Wingfield reacts most strongly.

"… we are convinced that the lives of such people have been plausibly and feelingly depicted."

Publishers Weekly

“During the nineteen sixties, following the missile crisis and during the Vietnam War, communitarian societies began to reappear in the United States. Those who were of an invincibly optimistic nature gathered together in agrarian or utopian communes reminiscent of the nineteenth century.

"A brilliant political fable. Highly recommended."

Library Journal