In this stunning debut story collection, everyone's got the blues but nobody is willing to sing it. Evelyn Smith, Candace Lambert, and Dorene Wahrmund chafe against rigid small-town expectations. Others in hardscrabble Nopalito find themselves fenced in--an aging gay liquor store owner estranged among his neighbors, a mother and son bound by mutual resentment, two neighboring farm boys attracted to each other. Their stories are driven by desperation, rarely spoken, that troubles the community's inhabitants as it nudges them toward connection, toward moments of hope. Meischen draws these characters with a tenderness that belies the hardness of their lives.
"The setting--replete with eight-cylinder cars, home perms, butane stoves, Buddy Holly glasses--is midcentury modern. It's 1955 in Nopalito, Texas, yet given the dearth of options for a girl who hopes to never be husbanded, and for a flibbertigibbet boy whose hands fly like birds when he talks, it might be 1855. These stories illuminate the other side of silence where words don't exist for desires that run counter to established norms. David Meischen's homespun but gorgeous words coalesce in a lush yet subtle style. Even bit players burdened with secret truth contemplate the world with attention to detail so tender it turns ordinary objects into sites of revelation. In this backwater outpost where everyone knows everyone, no one knows anyone. Each story is devastatingly beautiful and the book, more than a sum of its parts, is a consummate work of art."--Debra Monroe, author of It Takes a Worried Woman
"In Nopalito, Texas: Stories, David Meischen is attuned to the quiet crises upon which a person's life turns. In clear, poignant, and often poetic language, we see the residents of a small South Texas town--daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, neighbors, friends, outsiders--pushing against the limits of their lives. Stubbornness, devotion, confusion, pride, and anger see them through the internal upheavals and seismic shifts of loss and grief. And at the end, you'll sigh deep and long and wonder at having held so much life, so much humanity, in such a slender volume."--ire'ne lara silva, author of flesh to bone
"The linked stories of Nopalito, Texas feel artfully distilled yet also boundless. As the characters grow older, they intersect in ways both surprising and deeply satisfying. This stunning collection, full of lyrical prose and deep compassion, belongs in the Texan canon."--Stacey Swann, author of Olympus, Texas: A Novel
"In this tremendous collection, David Meischen renders entire lives with extraordinary depth, breadth, and care. Like Alice Munro and Andrea Barrett, Meischen conveys the significance of the present moment by laying bare what has come before. Nopalito, Texas: Stories is a book to savor, and this is a writer to cherish."--Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This: A Novel