...this love letter to people living in Midwestern farm communities is also a story of how women connect even if they haven’t known one another. THE CLAYFIELDS is a tender-hearted story and the author clearly loves her characters. It needs a wide audience.
-Mary Ann Grossman, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Wisconsin readers will note various geographical markers identifying their state, although readers from other rural areas will recognize these characters and situations, which seem universal: love of and respect for animals and the natural world, the nurturing and stultifying links to family, the conflict between an older generation and a younger one, the differing ways men and women relate to the world.
- Steve Luebke, Volume One
Elise Gregory’s novel-in-stories THE CLAYFIELDS, is an utterly absorbing, charming, and original work. Its focus on family, food, farming, and all the generational disjunctions and conflicts of midwestern agrarian life today is so exactly rendered and compellingly nuanced...
- Gregory Spatz, author of INUKSHUK, and WHAT COULD BE SAVED.
THE CLAYFIELDS is a fully imagined novel in stories driven by lunar cycles of growth and decay, grief and joy, birth and death, waiting and renewal—not to mention goats and milk and cheese and corn and love and blueberries and memory and pie and everything else that sustain us. Elise Gregory has brought a world to life in this beautiful, engaging book.
- Samuel Ligon, author of WONDERLAND, AMONG the DEAD and DREAMING, DRIFT and SWERVE, and
A lush, evocative, and beautiful book. In prose both lyrical and precise, Elise Gregory introduces us to an upper Midwestern community that cultivates a host of complicated and interconnected relationships between a cast of unforgettable characters, all of whom are authentically rendered with disarming clarity, while set against striking locales and landscapes. From bluffs perched over farmland, to the local tavern, to potlucks, to milking goats, to harvesting crops, to wandering cornfields at night, THE CLAYFIELDS is a sensual and heartfelt debut.
- Keith Lesmeister, author of WE COULD HAVE BEEN HAPPY HERE
Elise Gregory beautifully captures the heartbeat of rural Wisconsin life, where news travels fast, beer is served in pitchers, and bakers vie for ribbons at the county fair pie contest. But there's enough space even in the smallest of towns to hide family history and secrets, both of which unravel with the rhythm of Wisconsin's seasons. THE CLAYFIELDS is charming, poignant and thought-provoking.
- Shelley Tougas, author of FINDERS KEEPERS, THE GRAHAM CRACKER PLOT, A PATRON SAINT for JUNIOR BRIDESMAIDS, LAURA INGALLS is RUINING MY LIFE, and LILY and THAT GUY
Elise Gregory’s novel in stories, THE CLAYFIELDS, made me feel like I was part of a Wisconsin farming community. The novel is layered with both the complexity and simplicity of farming life, the danger and the beauty. It helps us understand what hard work is and what it means to those who do it. This novel is layered with emotional tension, tied to the people and the land and animals they care for and work. The language is both simple and poetic, the stories compelling and linked and revealing more with each season that passes. I am in awe with Gregory’s ability to tell a good story and make me want to be there with them, standing in the manure, all that comes with it. I wanted to know these people. They felt as real to me as anyone I know. Beautiful, beautiful book.
- Laura Stott, author of BLUE NUDE MIGRATION and IN the MUSEUM of COMING and GOING