April Warnings is a collection of short stories that can be read together as one. The narratives are bound by the strange Midwestern ritual of going into an underground tornado shelter and a growing mythology about a particular plot of land on the railroad tracks of the Callahan Ranch in Baxter County. Farms, highways, and churches become the epicenter for truths, fictions, and myths rooted in larger ideas from the so-called "American Heartland," a place belonging to indigenous populations, immigration routes, and beliefs about worlds that exist beyond the prairie.
PRAISE FOR APRIL WARNINGS
Mark Pleiss' April Warnings is a revelation of rural life. The spirit of the Midwest and its people inhabit these connected stories like minerals in soil: subtle and vital. Tornadoes and livestock, farmers and worry, faith and cost: these are the building blocks of this part of the world. It's a place that too many people call 'flyover country,' but that Pleiss' fiction invites us into, to put up our feet and stay a while. You'll want to do just that.
—Teague von Bohlen, Fiction Editor, Copper Nickel and author of The Pull of the Earth and Flatland
The interconnecting stories in Mark Pleiss’ April Warnings reflect the best qualities of the oral tradition and, in particular, of fantastic tales and parables. Gentle, revealing humor emerges naturally in the surprising plot elements uncannily related to the warping of time that occurs after, during, and just before tornadoes. Engaging wisdom about the slippery nature of ‘truth’ marks every page, and, in fact, the characters’ fates are often decided by fictions that ring ‘true,’ magically true.
—Kevin McIlvoy, At the Gate of All Wonder, 57 Octaves Below Middle C, The Complete History of New Mexico, and other works of fiction.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Pleiss is a writer in Denver. He publishes fiction, book reviews, scholarly criticism, and essays, and his work has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Colorado Review, The Omaha Pulp, Sequel, Fine Lines, Palimpsest, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Denver Post, and elsewhere. He worked as a freelance journalist for The Omaha World-Herald and The Des Moines Register before completing a doctorate in Spanish Literature and teaching at St. Olaf College, CU Boulder, and Metro State University Denver. He is from Omaha, Nebraska.
Mark Pleiss’ website: markpleiss.com