There's all manner of craziness in The Alehouse at the End of the World: a giant beast who's swallowed the spirit world, a hairless blue fisherman, a trio of shape-shifting god-birds, a self-aggrandizing (Trumpian?) crow, the Isle of the Dead, a feathered goddess, and a dead woman who's... well, you'll see. Yet underneath these fantastical guises lie the same hearts that can be found in all of us: some are kind, some are driven, some are evil, some are insatiable, and in spite of their nonhuman forms, they are all so very human.
In this magical world, the net of a dark fate tightens around the existence of this motley crew, and an apocalypse is brewing on the horizon.
This is why adults still need fairy tales: there are some archetypes more familiar than our own faces, and they help us survive, they teach us to live, they compel us to grow. Allred has the sly and quixotic writing chops to pull off this charming story, which is both wickedly funny and achingly poignant. He manages his characters as well as a puppeteer, and imbues them with such heartfelt passion and pathos, it's mesmerizing. Do not miss this delightful tale that will remind you how precious humanity is, in whichever form you find it. Bravo! Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
A fable, an adventure, a story filled with treats for us lovers of words and culture and the world. This is one of the rare books that I never wanted to end. Completely satisfying, dramatic, hilarious — a wonderful world. I'll buy a lot of copies of this book for my holiday gift list. Recommended By Doug C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
When a fisherman receives a mysterious letter about his beloved's demise, he sets off in his skiff to find her on the Isle of the Dead. The Alehouse at the End of the World is an epic comedy set in the sixteenth century, where bawdy Shakespearean love triangles play out with shapeshifting avian demigods and a fertility goddess, drunken revelry, bio-dynamic gardening, and a narcissistic, bullying crow, who may have colluded with a foreign power. A raucous, aw-aw-aw-awe-inspiring romp, Stevan Allred's second book is a juicy fable for adults, and a hopeful tale for our troubled times.
“The Alehouse at the End of the World will take you on a fast-moving ride through sixteenth century farce with a present tense echo effect. Bard-like in its constellation of bird-gods and rough hewn characters tossed around like breadcrumbs, the epic voyage catches you between laughter and a tear forming at the edge of your eye. Like life does.” Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan
“The talented and erudite Stevan Allred is a natural storyteller, weaving together in The Alehouse at the End of the World various threads of Eastern and Western myth, fable, and legend, into an inviting, raucous romp through the lands of the Dead, where a lonely fisherman, accompanied by an entertaining cast of Avian co-conspirators, wanders in search of his long-lost beloved. You will frequently gasp, occasionally wring your hands, and always delight at Mr. Allred’s sharp ear for dialogue, unerring instinct for suspense, and magisterial command of the fanciful world that may await us all in our next life.” Michael Shou-Yung Shum, author of Queen of Spades
“Stevan Allred, armed with an abiding love of narrative, and an arsenal of sentence-by-sentence wit and tumble, draws us into an epic battle for the soul of the afterworld, and we are led ever on by language dangerously funny. The creatures that illuminate this journey with their eternal ponderings and arguments, are not necessarily human except in their search for reason and love, driven as they are by power, sex, and the beautiful mystery of death.” Joanna Rose, author of Little Miss Strange
“This island of the dead is more active than a lot of retirement communities. Richly conceived, enjoyable, and a treat for readers of myths and legends.” Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Stevan Allred lives in Portland, Oregon, halfway between Hav and the Isle of the Dead, which is to say he spends as much time burrowed into his imagination as he possibly can. He is the author of A Simplified Map of the Real World: The Renata Stories, and a contributor to City of Weird: 30 Otherwordly Portland Tales.
Reid Psaltis is an illustrator from the Pacific Northwest. Always interested in expressing an interest in animals through art, he majored in oil painting at Western Washington University, completed the science illustration graduate program at California State University Monterey Bay, and interned in the exhibitions department at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Recent achievements include the publication of The Order of Things: A Bestiary by Secret Acres Books and being awarded a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council. Reid currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where he works as a freelancer and manages a shared studio space called Magnetic North.