A Swallow Press Book
“This is gorgeous writing—intense, deeply felt, convincing. Taken one at a time, these stories succeed. Taken together, they sparkle.”
“Natalie Petesch is a wonder of a writer. There is absolutely no one else like her. She is courageous, almost to the point of being fierce. And unbearably honest. And wise. And full of tears. I salute her fine work.”
In this short story collection, acclaimed author Natalie Petesch reaffirms for us our enduring debt to millions of immigrants who helped build America. Inspired by her own parents’ journey at the turn of the century, Petesch spins these tales of immigration in a spare and lyrical prose that assures our involvement: a political fugitive threatened with imprisonment reaches a long-sought mining town in Minnesota; as Polish immigrant Witold Dobrynski realizes his dream of owning a farm in Texas, a spiritual crisis changes his life; fourteen-year-old Stasio Wolski quickly becomes a man in the underworld of a big city but is haunted by the loss of his Polish identity: a beekeeping bachelor's pre-occupation with the social life of the hive is seamlessly interwoven with the colorful tapestry of early twentieth-century Pittsburgh.
This visionary collection sustains Petesch’s well-established reputation as one of the country’s finest writers.
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.
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The twelve stories in Teach the Free Man mark the impressive debut of Peter Nathaniel Malae. The subject of incarceration thematically links the stories, yet their range extends beyond the prison’s barbed wire and iron bars. Avoiding sensationalism, Malae exposes the heart and soul in those dark, seemingly inaccessible corridors of the human experience.
Helen Papanikolas has been honored frequently for her work in ethnic and labor history. Among her many publications are Toil and Rage in a New Land: The Greek Immigrants in Utah, Peoples of Utah (ed.), and her parents' own story of migration, Emily-George. With Small Bird, Tell Me, she joins a long and ancient tradition of Greek story-tellers whose art informs and enriches our lives.
The title of Helen Papanikolas’ second collection of short stories, The Apple Falls from the Apple Tree, is taken from an old Greek proverb and speaks of the new generation’s struggle with the vestiges of Greek customs. Gone are the raw, overt emotions of the pioneers, their bold prejudices, and, especially, the haunting black fatalism of funerals. Yet their children retain much of their parents’ culture.