Northern Illinois University Press

The Spoils


Casey Pycior

“Casey Pycior’s book is a terrific read and an excellent addition to the field of American letters. These stories sneak up on you and pack a wonderful punch. They are grounded in place, which provides unity to this diverse collection, but they are not limited by geography. They speak to the entire country and help us understand what it means to be an American.”—Andrew Malan Milward, author of I Was a Revolutionary

Deep in the landlocked heart of the Midwest, the characters inThe Spoils are drowning under the weight of masculinity, paralyzed in the grip of things left unsaid. These men are broken and breaking, struggling to reckon with the decisions they’ve made and those they have yet to face. Set mostly in and around Kansas, the stories in this powerful collection explore how men perform in their jobs and personal lives, and investigate the gray area between doing what’s best for oneself and acting a part to make others happy.

A man questions whether he should leave his drug-addicted girlfriend and her son or stay, sacrificing his own well-being to be the boy’s father. Fed up with the role of the stooge, a Washington Generals player takes his A game to the Harlem Globetrotters and has to face the unforeseen consequences. A rookie prison guard sent to procure a death row inmate’s final meal commits a small, subversive act of humanity.

In a world where the line between right and wrong is constantly shifting, some struggle to do the right thing, while others eschew the line altogether and deal with the sometimes violent repercussions. The Spoils examines these difficult choices and will appeal to readers of literary fiction and short stories, especially readers of fiction based in the Midwest.

March 2017, 5.5x8.5, 158 pp.
ISBN 978-0-87580-761-4
$15.95t Paper

Casey Pycior was born and raised in Kansas City. He earned his MFA in fiction writing at Wichita State University and his PhD in creative writing at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He was awarded the Charles Johnson Fiction Prize at Crab Orchard Review, and his stories have also appeared in Beloit Fiction Journal, Midwestern Gothic, Harpur Palate, BULL, Wigleaf, and Yalobusha Review, among many others. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife and son.

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-761-4
Paper $15.95