Michael Credico’s debut short story collection Heartland Calamitous was longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection and The 2021 Story Prize. It is available now from Autumn House Press.
Purchase Heartland Calamitous:
Read the Research Notes for Heartland Calamitous at Necessary Fiction.
Listen to playlist for Heartland Calamitous at Largehearted Boy.
One of the “Ten Small Press Story Collections You Might Have Missed” according to Chicago Review of Books
“In his compelling collection of stories—most only a few pages long—Michael Credico marshals bold, creative images to depict a grim Midwest dominated by slaughterhouses and fast food restaurants. . . . Echoing the work of Franz Kafka and Joseph Heller, the intense, slippery images animating these powerful stories bring to life alienated characters and are challenging and surprising at every turn.”
— Foreword Reviews starred review
“Writers like Lydia Davis and Amy Hempel have made their careers on the fine-tuned art of flash fiction, but you won’t find anything like their delicate aphorisms in these pages. Like the Coen brothers by way of Samuel Beckett with a zombie or two thrown in for good measure, Michael Credico’s clipped style and deadpan humor mimics and complicates the “Midwestern nice” that flyover country is infamous for, blazing new trails all his own.”
— Chicago Review of Books
“Credico’s sentences bloom out of one another like cherry trees that flower in winter. This book slants toward life in a way that feels real.”
— Rita Bullwinkel, author of Belly Up
“Michael Credico in his book of palpating, pulsating fictions, Heartland Calamitous, captures perfectly the diastolic deadpanned dissonance in the heart of the heart of the country. Here one begins to sense what it feels like to believe you inhabit the goddam center of the world… These arresting fictions are your punched tickets back home, your itinerary to the scheduled crash landings in this leaden leaking lake-effected fever dreamt flyover.”
— Michael Martone, author of Brooding and The Moon Over Wapakoneta
“Chiseled and coiled like a hungry serpent with a wicked sense of humor, Michael Credico’s stories lure you in with terrific sentences and just when you expect to be crushed, embrace you with an unexpectedly tender heart. Denis Johnson meets Donald Barthelme at a dive where Gordon Lish tends bar and Amy Hempel rules the jukebox. Don’t believe me, believe Credico. Read this book. “
— Imad Rahman, author of I Dream of Microwaves
“In this warped, deliciously brutal debut collection, Michael Credico spins variations on a common Midwestern malady: feeling stuck and looking for a way out. His oddly alienated characters find themselves restrained again and again—choked by a too-tight necktie, caught in a glue trap, running a directionless road—trapped, like Cleveland’s own Howard the Duck, in a world they never made.”
— David Giffels, author of Furnishing Eternity and The Hard Way on Purpose
“I think I used the word ‘offbeat’ earlier, and that’s one way to describe what Michael Credico does in Heartland Calamitous. A more accurate way of looking at them is ‘unique,’ as Credico’s voice is unlike anything I’ve quite read before, a mixture of surrealism, despair, frustration, and comedy that adds up to a pretty marvelous whole. There are cowboys and cannibals, dead babies and fish with wings. What else does a book really need?”
— Michael Czyzniejewski