Behind each door of each small place in this collection of ten short stories, people tend to their duties to keep a small town humming. The Winter Bees introduces seemingly mundane lives lived in a rural Minnesota town and reveals journeys of personal discovery, meaning, love and hope.
Ana, the bartender, hosts Christmas parties for children and raises money for charity, all the while storing memories of her lonely past. Bachelor Hermann, who pines for his best friend’s wife, makes messes to attract her over to his place and clean up after him. The bookstore owner, Shirley, who neatly shelves the stacks while longing for her dead husband, surprises herself in a moment of cruelty.
These intertwined stories draw us into the everyday lives of people whose duties often mean personal restraint and heartbreak.
Jill Kalz lives and writes in New Ulm, Minnesota. She has published poetry in the Nebraska Review, the Ohio Review, Cream City Review, and other magazines. Her short stories have appeared in American Fiction Vol. 15 and Minnesota Monthly. A 2008 Minnesota Book Award finalist and winner of the Readers’ Choice Award for her picture book Farmer Cap, Kalz is also the author of more than 70 children’s books. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and works as a children’s book editor.
“…Kalz captures the tenacity, devotion to labor, and will to endure associated with the rural Midwest.” Kirkus Reviews (September 1, 2018)
“The Winter Bees is like a beautiful snow globe that I held in my hands for a day of luminous, nearly spellbound reading. Jill Kalz’ collection of interwoven short stories are full of heartbreak and longing, love and lust. The stories are crystalline, beautiful, delicate, soulful, and ephemeral. This book is nothing short of a small, rare marvel.” Nickolas Butler, bestselling author of Shotgun Lovesongs and The Hearts of Men.
“These rich, interwoven stories are where great literature comes from: the closely observed heartbreaks and joys of ordinary people’s lives.” Will Weaver, author of Sweet Land: New & Collected Stories.