ISBN: 978-1-62557-712-2
Reviews & Media Interview on KMUW

Sun River

Publication Date: May 2019


With beautiful and harrowing distillation, Ben Nickol’s stories reveal how we love and how we lose what we love. Deft and affecting, this is an impressive collection.

–E.J. Levy

Like the river itself, Ben Nickol’s stories wind through some wild and rich country, full of beauty and peril both. Leaving the pretty myths behind, Nickol sets off into the lives of everyday people doing all they can to get by on the edges of wild places. These are stories and lives that will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

–Pete Fromm

The stories in Sun River bear the clean force and beauty of a Rocky Mountain rainstorm. They are fierce, tugging, and unforgettable. Sometimes a new American voice comes to us like dark thunder. Ben Nickol is that voice.

–Alyson Hagy

Ben Nickol’s Sun River is an exquisitely crafted and thoroughly engaging book of short stories set in North Idaho and Western Montana. Struggling with decisions made by and for them, Nickol’s men and women bicker and yearn in off-putting witticisms and common sense wisdom. His study here is nothing less than an American vernacular, the language of a people worn and scarred by time and place and decisions big and small. However flawed and desperate, they try, they endure, hopeful and defiant. Illuminated by hard-won insights, Nickol’s Sun River is a meditative, rewarding read.

–Marc Bojanowski

Ben Nickol’s Sun River is an impressive collection. The people in his stories are often on the knife-edge of peril: they’re in transition, embarking on journeys, at breaking points, on icy marital roads. As I read, I found myself leaning forward in the seat, peering ahead, pressing down on the accelerator. As the collection makes clear, Nickol’s unforgettable characters are always “racing ahead of the storm.” I loved these stories and their heartbreaking lives.

–David Abrams

About the Author

Ben Nickol

Ben Nickol was raised in Idaho and attended the University of Arkansas and the University of Notre Dame, where he played basketball for the Fighting Irish. His prose has been recognized by the Arkansas Arts Council, Best American Sports Writing, and the University of Arkansas, among other organizations, and he's the author, most recently, of Sun River: Stories (Black Lawrence Press), which The Quivering Pen named a Best Book of 2019. Additionally, Ben's stories and essays have appeared in Alaska Quarterly ReviewBoulevardFourth GenreCrab Orchard ReviewRedividerFugueTin House OnlineThe Greensboro ReviewCutBank and elsewhere. Since 2018, he's taught in the M.F.A. program at Wichita State University.

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