Each day we highlight one of the 36 finalists leading up to the April 8 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, presented by Education Minnesota. Today we feature 2017 Novel & Short Story finalist:
Tandy Caide is a big-boned pragmatist and the only CPA in her small prairie town. Except for the home explosions caused by her town’s methamphetamine problem, her life is steady churn of Chamber of Commerce meetings, unwatchable high school musicals, and passive aggressive conflict avoidance. Until the new vocational agriculture teacher shows up with his ponytail and beaded belt. He’s wrong for this town and for Tandy, who is married. But, as Tandy notes, “Everyone gets to f*ck a fool at least once in their life.” It’s a grownup coming-of-age story from a powerful, fallible woman trying to do just that.
Author Stephanie Wilbur Ash is a former editor at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and one of the literary/musical comedians behind the Lit 6 Project, the Electric Arc Radio Show, and Don’t Crush Our Heart! (the world’s only twee-pop courtroom drama musical). Currently she directs editorial services at Gustavus Adolphus College and splits her time between Minneapolis and Mankato. Follow her on Twitter.
“Ash’s debut novel brilliantly captures the slanted quirkiness of a Midwest full of small-business owners and exploding home-methamphetamine labs . . . Darkly hilarious and weirdly beguiling.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Tandy’s voice is intriguingly and deceptively complex, leading readers to glimpse the longing beneath her professional veneer. Simultaneously a character study and an exploration about the personal costs of living in a dwindling farming town increasingly marred by meth abuse, Tandy’s story finally offers bittersweet, hard-won hope.” — Publisher’s Weekly
“The star of this book is the wonderfully drawn Tandy Caide— an unconventional, quirky woman who remains true to her town and her own personal code of ethics no matter what the circumstances. This is a fast paced and funny read about life in a small town. I loved these flawed, tender, compassionate characters.” — Minnesota Book Awards Judge
Beyond the Book:
Article: ‘ASH FICTION’: Part-time North Mankato resident up for award by James Figy, Mankato Free Press
Interview: Stephanie Wilbur Ash on small towns, meth labs, and The Annie Year by Erica Rivera, City Pages