Some People Let You Down (Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction #19) (Paperback)
The nine stories in Mike Alberti’s debut collection shine a sharp light on small-town American life —not the Arcadian small towns of yesteryear, but the old mill towns hanging on after the mill has stopped running, the deserted agricultural communities in the middle of vast industrial farms, places where bad luck has become part of the weather. But even in these blighted, neglected landscapes, the possibility of renewal always presents itself: there is hope for these places and the characters who inhabit them. In these fresh, innovative stories, some people let you down, but some people don’t.
About the Author
MIKE ALBERTI’S short fiction has appeared in Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, One Story, and elsewhere. His work has been supported by fellowships and residencies including the Camargo Foundation, the James Merrill House, the Ucross Foundation, and the MacDowell Colony. He lives in Minneapolis, where he serves as the Managing Director for Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop and teaches in prisons across the state.
"In this beautifully written collection, Mike Alberti's characters begin to take ownership over the lives they have been given. These stories are ghost-ridden, full of the presences of people who are no longer there, in dying places that won’t be there much longer. Eloquent, always observant, and never dull, these stories are impossible to put down."—Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love and There’s Something I Want You to Do
"Mike Alberti sets language aflame with feeling in this extraordinary collection. His characters’ blasted lives, often defined by violence, take place against a backdrop of vivid beauty, a passion and awe of the natural world. This is a beautiful, inspiring, and compassionate book."—Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members and The Shakespeare Requirement
"In Some People Let You Down, Mike Alberti takes us on a journey through the small towns of middle America. In stop after stop, these stories gift us with beautiful descriptions of everyday people, all hoping for connection, all living in the spaces where dreams and nightmares merge: in that lonely space of one's own limitations and possibilities. All through the reading, I felt myself on the edge of a deep chasm, hopeful that I might fly should I fall."—Kao Kalia Yang, author of The Late Homecomer and The Song Poet
“The key to Mike Alberti’s Some People Let You Down is the emotional gravity that dominates these characters’ lives, drawing them down into themselves, their pasts, their home towns. The author captures the startling bigness of rural life, how history and land press on a person, worrying them slowly into a surprising, human shape. This is character-driven fiction at its finest.”—Zach VandeZande, author of Liminal Domestic: Stories and judge
“There’s a tender intelligence at work in Alberti’s stories, an attention to what I think of as the ordinary hubrises, so often the hardest to name. If you, like me, read for answers to questions you didn't know you had, here is a collection of stories for that appetite, stories that all lead us back to ourselves, by surprise. A debut with the assurance of a masterful writer who has already been with us for years, but in this case, he is finally here."—Alexander Chee, author of How to Write An Autobiographical Novel
“Some People Let You Down is as electrifying and geographically stunning a debut I've ever read. Mike Alberti weaves tender, terrifying images, people and ideas in a book that is equally heavy as it is ambitious.”—Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir
"Alberti’s well-crafted debut collection creates a thorough portrait of rural life. . . . Alberti demonstrates a graceful talent for short fiction."--Publishers Weekly