The Lager Queen of Minnesota

Authored by
28 February, 2024
J. Ryan Stradal

I really, really enjoyed this book.

I've been focusing on books written by women lately; they seem to satisfy the things I'm looking for in characters and narrative more often than books written by men. But I saw some good reviews of this, and a book about Midwesterners seemed appealing at the moment, so I gave it a try.

I really liked the characters, even the more flawed ones; I especially liked Edith. And there were some plot developments I really didn't see coming that just made me grin when they happened.

And Stradal's writing isn't showy, but he has enough of a way with metaphor that I would occasionally pause to savor one - not enough to pull me out of the story, just enough to add some effervescence.

I enjoyed it so much that I looked up the author, and I've found some really interesting interviews where he talks about his mom, and about how writing is a way of keeping her alive. On NPR's All Things Considered, he told Ari Shapiro:

She passed away almost 15 years ago and has never read any of my published work. My first short story was published a few months after she died. So I feel I write to honor her legacy as a writer, and as an influence, and also to keep her alive in my heart. That's why she ends up in so many of the characters. ... It's one way I think about her every day — is to write for her and put her in my characters.

I'm so glad I read The Lager Queen of Minnesota, and I'm really looking forward to reading Stradal's other two books.


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