The Alice Stories

Winner of the 2006 Book Prize in Fiction

About the Book

Wisconsin is not where Alice, a girl raised in Florida, meant to end up. But when she falls in love with Anders Dahl, a descendant of Norwegian farmers born for generations in the same stone farmhouse, she realizes that to love Anders is to settle into a life in Wisconsin in the small house they buy before their daughter, Maude, is born. Together, Alice and Anders move forward into a life of family, friends, and the occasional troubled student until they face their biggest challenge. Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Jesse Lee Kercheval’s The Alice Stories tells the tale of a family: the pain of loss and the importance of the love of friends in the midst of turmoil. As timely as the news yet informed by rich humor and a deep understanding of human character, the interlinked Alice Stories form a luminous tale of family life.


You can read an excerpt from The Alice Stories on the University of Nebraska Press website here.


“Over the course of 10 beautifully shaped, deeply moving, funny, and utterly surprising linked stories, Kercheval, in prose as sparkling as snow in sunlight, considers how quickly things can stop making sense and how sustaining goodness truly is.”—Donna Seaman, Booklist

“I always seem to enjoy fiction from the University of Nebraska Press. . . . Add The Alice Stories to the list. It is well crafted, enjoyable storytelling that addresses thought provoking themes and serves as an often poignant reminder of the sometimes tragic, often fleeting, but still joyful nature of life.”—Kevin Holtsberry, “The stories ultimately form a coherent narrative, building to the extraordinarily powerful final story, ‘Night Dogs,’ which refocuses everything that precedes it.”—Quentin Miller, Review of Contemporary Fiction

“Jesse Lee Kercheval performs some much-needed surgery on the human heart in this stunning new collection of stories by an author whose wry and touching perceptions make her one of the foremost chroniclers of our times.”—Jonis Agee, author of the novel The River Wife

“Daily life has never seemed more remarkable, or more fraught, or more ultimately plenteous than in these seductively readable Alice Stories. Like her literary namesake, Kercheval’s Alice is the ideal companion—witty, warm, and, above all, clear-sighted—to this book’s tour through a wonderland of surprise and ineradicable hope.”—Erin McGraw, author of the story collection The Good Life

“By turns hilarious and devastating, The Alice Stories form a tender and poetic chronicle of one woman’s journey through time, love, motherhood, and Wisconsin. It is a marvelous example of how connected stories can, even more effectively than a novel, evoke a life in all its ranging, episodic, and emotional complexity.”—Anthony Doerr, author of the novel About Grace

“In these lucid, keenly intelligent stories, Jesse Lee Kercheval’s witty, tender, and bewildered Alice navigates the unpredictable landscape of adulthood—its irreplaceable gifts and stunning losses—and illuminates what it means to love. Kercheval is a deft, generous storyteller, her fiction mapping the confluence of profound experience, daily rhythms, and small, perfect absurdities. The Alice Stories is a beautiful, arresting collection.”—Nancy Reisman, author of the novel The First Desire

Jesse Lee Kercheval

About the Author

Jesse Lee Kercheval is the Sally Mead Hands Bascom Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the director of the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. She is the author of six books and two chapbooks, including the story collection The Dogeater, the memoir Space, the novel The Museum of Happiness, and the poetry collections World as Dictionary and Dog Angel.