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Catalog Archive / Spring 2021

The Blondes of Wisconsin

Winner of the 2022 Council for Wisconsin Writers Annual Awards

Finalist of the 2022 Midwest Book Awards

“An outstanding collection. Though loss haunts his characters, Bukoski’s stories are about the enduring beauty of the human spirit—as delicate as a dragonfly’s wing, as indelible as the landscape of the heart. I will not soon forget them or this transcendent book.”
—Lee Zacharias, author of Across the Great Lake

Like stones cast into a river, these sixteen moving, intimate stories illuminate how devotion and degeneration ripple through a working-class Polish American community in the postindustrial Midwest. At the heart of the collection is Eddie “The Bronko” Bronkowski, a boxer with a losing record whose reputation as a human punching bag precedes him. In each of Anthony Bukoski’s rich stories, tough yet sympathetic characters—the second cook on a Great Lakes freighter, a World War II veteran, the emcee of a female boxing troupe—take all that life throws at them, protecting those around them as best they can.

In Bukoski’s interconnected tales, the heart seeks its due despite familial conflict, the challenges of maritime work, and the slow yet inexorable decline of dementia. Beautiful vignettes express transformative moments: tenderness that can turn a cardboard crown into gold and the faint ghosts of memories long forgotten. A tour-de-force, The Blondes of Wisconsin knows what love is—and what it means to lose it.


Anthony Bukoski. Anthony Bukoski is an award-winning writer and a fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. A member of the Polish American Historical Association, he is the author of the collections Time Between Trains, Children of Strangers, and Polonaise.




“I loved this book. Bukoski is a terrific writer. These stories are absolutely original, funny, lyrical, and touching. The Superior, Wisconsin, presented by Bukoski is as varied, complex, and tragic as Joyce’s Dublin and for me opened up a world I’d never known existed.”
—David Milofsky, author of A Milwaukee Inheritance



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The Blondes of Wisconsin: Cover showing the side of an old brick building with blue and yellow letters painted on it.

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April 2021
152 pp. 5.5 x 8.5

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Paper $16.95
ISBN 9780299331146
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