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14 Local Warehouse Literature- Family Life
2 Remote Warehouse Literature- A to Z

Close Is Fine


Close Is Fine Cover




 The shoe kid had gone to the back room to retrieve my father's size in the one Velcro shoe Joseph's had. As he waited, my father wandered along the rest of the men's casuals, standing close, leaning in like he was looking into a car's glare-filled window at a car lot. Never once did he pick up another shoe, never once looked at their soles. When he stopped next to a full-length mirror, one that my own reflection filled from half a store away, our faces were framed side by side. I watched my father's eyes scanning each stitch, looking for something, and I could tell then that I didn't, like my father had many times said, have any blessed clue.

“No half-sizes,” the sales kid said, rejoining us. “I brought an eight and a nine.”
— from "The Golden Torch"

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Julia Skillin, August 14, 2015 (view all comments by Julia Skillin)
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book, but it's undeniably well-written. As far as my own personal interest, the stories were a bit hit-or-miss, but they're all intriguing and whether or not I liked the premise of the story consistently became irrelevant as I found myself growing irresistibly curious to find out what would happen next and how it would end.

The slice of life stories range in tone from downright depressing to wryly amusing and Treichel's characters truly shine; they are diverse, interesting, and so wonderfully human. They're likable, despicable, pitiable; their actions and dialogue feel natural. The small-town/rural settings give me twinges of deja vu - I've seen, met, and known people just like these.

All in all, a very good collection of stories.
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Christopher Thomas, August 12, 2015 (view all comments by Christopher Thomas)
Note: Full review is at my website, thenerdmethod.com and I would give it a 4.5 if allowed.

I’ll begin by stating that Eliot’s use of language in Close is Fine may not satisfy MFA graduates or literature snobs, but I personally found it to fit the stories in the book very well. The stories are all set in rural Wisconsin, but believe me when I say that Eliot’s magic is in the way he makes the stories accessible to anyone (well, anyone with a Western culture, anyway). The stories are at once heartfelt, real, and touching ��" from the bitter irony of “On By” to the theme of self-discovery in “Good Potato Soil”, the book will reach you on an emotional level, I guarantee. You’ve lived some of these stories, or know someone who has, and you’ve been in the places that some of these characters have been (or, again, you know some people who have).

On that note, I’d like to touch on “Good Potato Soil”. The dialogue in this story, to me, rings perfectly true. More than that, though, the characters are true. I’ve been where these boys are; destroying anything I can destroy without getting caught as a way to make sense of the weird state of the world around me (my parents’ divorce, lackluster would-be father figures, friends who started doing drugs). Making trouble and not really sure why. There was a truth in this story that I wasn’t really expecting to encounter and that was a pleasant surprise. This was easily my favorite story in the work.

I guess the best compliment I can give to Close is Fine is that it reads like nonfiction; the stories, situations, settings, and characters are made so real by Treichel’s writing that you would swear that they were true. Fiction that can be read as truth is a rare thing ��" Eliot even comes very close to being as good at it as my favorite short story writer, Andrew Dubus (whose “Killings” will probably always be my favorite short story).

Anyway, if you like short stories and you don’t have the requirement that they feature some element of fantasy, science fiction, or horror, then Eliot Treichel’s Close is Fine is a great set of stories to sit down with and kill a few hours.
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Waney, December 30, 2012 (view all comments by Waney)
Captivating vignettes of American life. The expectations of youth become the anecdotes of maturity. Treichel's stories read like life plays out; seemingly disconnected moments that we eventually concede to gather together with nostalgia, even though a scant few of them have held the wonderfulness our egoist adolescence assumed would be widespread. These stories put me in mind of a weeded over high school athletic field, or coveralled codgers sipping coffee at a diner counter. The only other book I've read more than once is a Fitzgerald classic, but Close is Fine will join that tiny list.
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Product Details

Treichel, Eliot
Ooligan Press
Stories (single author)
Literature-Family Life
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 in 0.25 lb

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life

Close Is Fine New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.95 In Stock
Product details 172 pages Ooligan Press - English 9781932010459 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Pacific Northwest author Treichel debuts with a collection of short stories focused on the muted struggles of Midwestern blue collar characters to make sense of their messy, often reduced circumstances. The title story follows Tanner, a carpenter by trade, whose affair on the job with a younger woman has precipitated divorce from his wife Kirsten, a waitress. The downbeat Tanner seeks solace in erecting, with his pal Gerald, a replica howitzer. A more offbeat yarn like 'Stargazer,' set in 1957, concerns Walters, a shiftless bar owner, who buys his long-suffering wife, Tooty, an Electrolux vacuum cleaner for her birthday 'and she loved it.' Later, he trains an adopted black bear to wrestle with him in a professional stage act. Brian, a married elementary teacher in 'On By,' is drawn to a dogsledder named Rita. 'I don't think I'll ever forget this,' he says after riding on her sled, but before jumping into bed with her. The final story, 'The Golden Torch,' is about a widowed father and his divorced son who practice their firefighting skills while coping with their feelings of loneliness. All of these stories, with unadorned prose and universally male themes and a creeping sense of violence just ahead, offer broad appeal. A clear-eyed and perceptive debut." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "I’ve been a fan of Treichel’s fiction for years; but this book exceeded all my expectations. Close Is Fine is a beautiful, big-hearted, and hilarious collection. It features firemen, handymen, bear-wrestlers, and noble barflies, all doing the best they can. Treichel’s stories wander the fields, forests, and small towns of the Midwest like an Elizabethan balladeer: steadily amassing the vital, oft-ignored literature of the ninety-nine percent."
"Review" by , "The stories in Close Is Fine are a rare treat: vivid and voice-driven, sometimes hilarious and often heartbreaking, with surprising perceptions on every page. Whether they live on dilapidated farms whose wells have been poisoned by pesticides, or play on sports teams named for the local paper mill, or have affairs with soldiers’ wives and help friends build replica Howitzers out of scrap wood, Eliot Treichel’s characters are all complexly flawed and deeply human. In the bleakness of small-town, rural life, Treichel discovers both horror and humor, degradation and dignity, grief and grace."
"Review" by , "The gleeful destruction of this collection’s first pages is an early warning that you’re entering a world like no other. Not just a world where a car battery might be thrown through a storm window for fun, but one where “I think I have issues with your thought process” is usually meant as a kind of compliment. The stories of Close Is Fine could not be so funny if they weren’t also so sad, and their energy is always tempered by a narration of sharp reflection and clear, sure-footed prose. This is what I admire most about the book — the tension between the intelligence and control of the storytelling and the mistakes, the lack of control in the actions of the characters he tells us about. These are consistently provocative stories, stories of a very high order."
"Review" by , "This splendid collection of stories is part thrill-ride, part ethnographic field study, and part love song, filled with Wisconsin firemen, lumberjacks, pining lovers, wrestling bears, Native American revolutionaries, eloquent philanderers, [and] downtrodden soccer teams. Eliot Treichel is a master ventriloquist, able to summon and sustain an amazing range of voices, and to let his characters tell their glorious and surprisingly wise stories with their own idiosyncratic eloquence."
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