Northern Illinois University Press

Something that Feels like Truth

Donald Lystra

“Lystra’s stories are marvelous vehicles of plainspoken power.” —Larry Watson, author of Montana 1948 and American Boy

"These] stories [are] infused with Hemingway mythos. An accomplished writer, Lystra understands his craft and the places he describes.”—Anthony Bukoski, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Here at the edge of a lake, in rustling fields of raw pine scrub, and inside the worn beauty of small towns, Donald Lystra contemplates truth, family, character (or lack thereof), and what it means to be awake and alive … Lystra is a precise and merciless writer, a master of that moment when life changes, often irreversibly.”—Mardi Link, author of Isadora’s Secret and Bootstrapper

Something that Feels like Truth is as quiet and luminous as the cold night sky over Michigan … Lystra knows that riveting drama can be found in small moments, hidden behind the ordinary-looking doors of our neighbors … Lystra is a writer of great wisdom and artistry, with a voice that makes you lean close and listen hard.”—Valerie Laken, author of Dream House and Separate Kingdoms

“Lystra is a discerning observer of the human condition and a deft communicator of the myriad ways in which best intentions may not always achieve satisfying results. Fans of Richard Russo’s and Richard Ford’s short fiction will find a kindred spirit in this stellar collection of masterfully crafted gems.”—Carol Haggas, Booklist

"Lystra draws the bleak, beautiful landscape of the Great Lakes region in quick, sharp strokes, and brings its inhabitants to life with compassion and tenderness." - Christine Pivovar, The Kansas City Star


In this compelling story collection, award-winning author Donald Lystra paints an intimate portrait of America’s Great Lakes’ heartland during the last half-century. In fierce but tender prose, he writes about ordinary people who are navigating life’s difficult boundaries—of age and love and family— and who sometimes find redemption at the risk of searing regret.

Sept. (2013) 290pp.
paper 15.95t

Donald Lystra is an engineer and writer whose debut novel, Season of Water and Ice, captured the Midwest Book Award and the Michigan Notable Book Award in 2010. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the MacDowell Colony. His short fiction received Special Mention in the Pushcart Prizes. He and his wife divide their time between Ann Arbor and a farm in northern Michigan.

Table of Contents

Introduction and Acknowledgments
Rain Check
Speaking of Love Abstractly
Treasure Hunt
Parallel Universe
The Five O’Clock Train
Family Way

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ISBN: 9780875806938
paper $15.95