The Critical List is now available for order at Regal House Publishing, Amazon and Target.
In praise of The Critical List:
The stories in John Wenke’s The Critical List take a look at Americans taking a look at their own mortality. The title comes from the things some of his characters talk about—“a freefall of small and large miseries”—as they try (without success) to stop the advance of time. In one of Wenke’s stories, a boy keeps his father alive by befriending his ghost; in yet another, a drunken attempt at a criminal scheme ends up in a hilarious Christmas celebration. “Trouble keeps happening” to Wenke’s characters, but they keep fighting back, resilient and undaunted. These stories make up an American atlas, a road map from Connecticut to California. Get your copy now. John Wenke’s tough-minded, big-hearted America awaits your discovery.
– John Surowiecki, author of Pie Man, winner of the 2017 Nilson Prize for a First Novel
What’s so attractive about John Wenke’s stories is their stare-you-down directness — Wenke’s unflinching, deft (and welcome) conviction about the transportive and redeeming power of what we used to call good old American realism.
– Richard Ford
These stories showcase smart, resourceful people at the end of their rope, radically reshaping their lives. Within the familiar worlds of home and neighborhood, John Wenke uncovers violence, yearning, and comedy. Yes, there’s always something funny, even when the situation’s critical. A brilliant collection, where “…everything is calm until everything explodes.”
– Cary Holladay, author of Brides in the Sky: Stories and a Novella