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Catalog Archive / Spring 2019

Underground Women

“I’ve loved Jesse Lee Kercheval’s work for decades and am over the moon to find her first book reissued as Underground Women. It is so very timely: it is mordant, smart, and simmering under the surface with feminine rage.”
—Lauren Groff, author of Florida

A newlywed gazes upon the wreckage of the Titanic. A young woman becomes the protégé of a Parisian hotelier. An old woman meets an angel in a ghost town. Underground Women is a compilation of short stories by multitalented writer Jesse Lee Kercheval. The heart of the volume is a reissue of narratives first published as the The Dogeater, winner of the AWP Short Fiction Award in 1987. With arresting imagery and heart-wrenching storylines, Kercheval’s work uses humor and imagination to weave together themes of loss, dignity, tenacity and acceptance. These surreal and powerful vignettes will resonate with readers today as much as they did when first published.


portrait of author Jesse Lee Kercheval Jesse Lee Kercheval is the author and editor of fifteen books, including fiction, poetry, memoir, and a textbook on writing fiction. She is the Zona Gale Professor of English and Director of the Program in Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Author's Website -




“With powerfully evocative settings created with economy, these stories shine with authenticity for their insight into human foibles and vulnerability.”
Publishers Weekly

“Impressively original and deftly crafted narrative storytelling style.”
Midwest Book Review

“One of the rare collections of short fiction that manage to infuse a seemingly realist style with the sense of mystery and whimsy. Each narrative balances the visceral realistic details with off-kilter characters, images, and actions, ultimately creating the worlds that are at once familiar and surreal.”
—Ellen Litman, author of Mannequin Girl

“Story after story opens with immediacy and clear access to complex lives under pressure. Kercheval offers intimate views of characters' lives within the context of larger worlds, within history—if their own versions—and within the places shaping vital experience.”
—Nancy Reisman, author of Trompe L’Oeil

“There are very few writers who are able to make a place for themselves in every genre while maintaining the highest quality and originality of their work as Jesse Lee Kercheval has done. She has a national and international reputation as a woman of letters.”
—Jonis Agee, author of Bones of Paradise

“I am so happy that Kercheval’s lucidly dreamy fabrications have been resurrected and reanimated. Each remarkable work teeters on the edge between the rescue of survivors and the recovery of the dead.”
—Michael Martone



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April 2019
LC: 2018046899 PS
158 pp. 5.5 x 8.5

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Paper $16.95
ISBN 9780299323943
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