Cul de Sac by Scott Wrobel (website)
Review at The Collagist
Review at TwinCities.com
Review at JMWW
Interview on St. Paul Forum (video)
Interview with Steve Almond at The Nervous Breakdown
Review at the Brooklyn Rail
Review at the City Pages
Review at The Minneapolis StarTribune
Research Notes at Necessary Fiction
Review at New Pages
Review at Mill City Bibliophile
The Minneapolis StarTribune’s notice
We know the men who populate Cul De Sac from our own neighborhoods and our own familiar fantasies of the American good life, yet in Scott Wrobel’s hands their faults and strange inner minds frighten and delight us. Here are middle-aged men who deal with parenting, marriage, and grief by untangling extension cords, organizing garages, stalking seasonal Eastern European service workers at family resorts, violating jars of mayonnaise, and sabotaging houses-for-sale to keep their neighborhood Caucasian. Cul De Sac is an honest and empathetic look behind the tailored lawns and powerwashed-perfect decks of a suburban community to its awkwardly humorous and sad reality—Cheeverland in a modern Midwestern suburb. Cul De Sac provokes, challenges, and invites nervous laughter.
Scott Wrobel has published work in The Rake, Identity Theory, Night Train, Pindeldyboz, Word Riot, Great River Review, and Minnesota Monthly, among other places. He is a winner of the Loft Mentor Series Fiction Award and won the Third Coast 2008 Nonfiction Award. He has also been nominated for the Best New American Writers of 2009.
Praise for Cul De Sac:
Scott Wrobel is an amazingly sharp and gifted writer, and his debut, Cul De Sac, set in a twenty-first century American suburbia of lost dreams and troubled families, is not only one of the truest and saddest collections of stories I’ve ever read, but also one of the funniest.
-Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff and The Devil All the Time
Scott Wrobel’s stories are haunting, moving, strangely funny, and utterly unforgettable. This is a book you will hang on to so you can reread it and feel the thrill of discovery all over again.
-Jessica Anya Blau, author of Drinking Closer to Home
With his debut collection, Cul De Sac, Scott Wrobel paints a pitch-perfect portrait of men shouldering heavy ass burdens with grace and humor. There are echoes of Raymond Carver and Larry Brown here, both in tone and setting, but the thing Wrobel has most in common with Carver and Brown is that all three tell stories that stick in your gut for a long damn time.
-John Jodzio, author of If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home
Wrobel’s stories of mitigation, miscommunication, and dissolution in this nowhere setting we all know so well, are acutely punctuated with the maladies of modern life. They move from laugh-out-loud comedy to stifled tragedy easily, and leave you with the sense that the world could melt away in a blink, that we are on the edge of the void always. I kept roaring with laughter in spite of myself.
-Geoff Herbach, author of The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg