Susan Tekulve’s Savage Pilgrims includes five poems and five stories, most of which were first published in journals such as Beloit Fiction Journal, Denver Quarterly, North Dakota Quarterly, Emrys, Connecticut Review, and Clackamas Literary Review. These short stories and lyric interludes roam from suburban America to the trellised landscapes of Europe, exploring the revelations of love and fear in characters thrust into fierce journeys.
Fired from his sales job, a middle-aged Ohio man becomes a full-time Civil War re-enactor. A faithless Peace Corps volunteer stationed in Poland leads a group of elderly Catholic women on a pilgrimage to the shrine of a Black Madonna. After learning of her husband’s ocular disease, a wife takes him on an urgent quest to Scotland to see the sights she believes he will miss after he is blind. Regardless of their circumstances, these characters all wrestle with the complex disappointments and hopes that keep them searching for savage truths about themselves and others as they take off-kilter paths toward healing, love, grace and solace.
Susan Tekulve’s Savage Pilgrims, a collection of stories and poems, was published by Serving House Books and her short fiction collection, My Mother’s War Stories, by Winnow Press (Austin, Texas). Her nonfiction, stories and poems have appeared in Shenandoah, New Letters, Best New Writing 2007, The Indiana Review, Denver Quarterly, Puerto del Sol, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, Beloit Fiction Journal, Crab Orchard Review, The Literary Review, Webdelsol, Black Warrior Review and The Kansas City Star. She has been awarded scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. An associate professor of English at Converse College in South Carolina, she is completing a novel.
Such stories as these are evidence of the heart’s generosity. Their rich detail and meditative lull open a door on the joyful and poignant and sad enchantment of lives real and lived. There is pleasure to be found within. There are moments like breaking glass. —Robert Olmstead, author of Coal Black Horse and America By Land
Savage Pilgrims is an intimate tapestry of the lives of two generations of middle Americans, made memorable by the subtlety and grace of the author’s prose. —Dan Wakefield, author of Going All The Way and New York in the Fifties