Something that Feels like Truth
"....luminous....a stellar collection of masterfully crafted gems."
—BOOKLIST, American Library Association
"Lystra draws the bleak, beautiful landscape of the Great Lakes region in quick, sharp strokes, and brings its inhabitants to life with compassion and tenderness."
—KANSAS CITY STAR, Christine Pivovar
"(The final story) illuminates the themes and patterns that precede it and in so doing illuminates life....I won't forget this beautiful piece and what Lystra accomplishes in it and in this wise book."
—MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE, Anthony Bukoski
"What makes these 16 stories work is their portrayal of life in the Great Lakes region. They swell with empathy and a knowledge of the land and of the people who populate it."
—CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, Vidas Turakhia
"It (the writing) is all absorbing and understated. In some ways, Lystra’s work is reminiscent of his fellow Michiganite Elmore Leonard (absent the mobsters and melee) in its admirable Midwestern reserve…..But summaries don’t do them justice. It’s Lystra’s lucid voice that stops you cold."
—ZYZZYVA, San Francisco, Paul Wilner
“In these stories, Donald Lystra explores with intelligence and empathy those moments, often very quiet, when people make the decisions that will change their lives. The prose is clean and crisp, allowing the emotional punch of each story to come unexpectedly, even long after the reading. I can't recommend Something That Feels Like Truth highly enough.”
—KEITH TAYLOR, poet and author; Director, University of Michigan Bear River Writers' Conference
“Lystra’s stories are marvelous vehicles of plainspoken power. Hop on, and you’ll be astounded at where the short ride takes you.”
—LARRY WATSON, author of Montana 1948 and American Boy
“What a pleasure to read these Carveresque stories of Michigan men. Lystra has a bead on working guys who haven’t quite got a bead on their own lives, marriages, or dreams. These family men hunt and fish, work in auto plants or sell appliances, spend time alone in their basements, and occasionally tell a dirty joke to a pretty stranger at the Firefly Lounge. They yearn for something more without knowing what that something might be. Lystra’s observations are keen and sometimes extravagant: when one character tips his La-Z-Boy all the way back, he is “in the position of an astronaut in a space capsule;” a newly divorced man is “learning to live with the sensation familiar to Arctic explorers and Michigan ice fishermen, of being supported by a fragile membrane, camped out on a crust of ice above a cold black void.” The beauty of these stories and their landscapes—physical and emotional—will surprise you.”
—BONNIE JO CAMPBELL, author of Once Upon a River and National Book Award finalist American Salvage
“Reader, you hold in your hand stories from the beating heart of America's hardscrabble core. Here at the edge of a lake, in rustling fields or raw pine scrub, and inside the worn beauty of small towns, Donald Lystra contemplates truth, family, character (or lack thereof), and what it means to be awake and alive. In plainspoken language Lystra reveals both the outward resourcefulness and the hidden tenderness of the Midwest. The people who live in these stories always turn and face their circumstances, sometimes early, sometimes at the final moment, but face them they do. Bringing us, breathless, alongside. Lystra is a precise and merciless writer, a master of that moment when life changes, often irreversibly.”
—MARDI LINK, author of Isadora’s Secret and Bootstrapper
“SOMETHING THAT FEELS LIKE TRUTH is as quiet and luminous as the cold night sky over Michigan. At the core of these elegant, unforgettable stories is a stillness that’s mesmerizing. Like the great Midwestern writers Ernest Hemingway and William Maxwell, Lystra knows that riveting drama can be found in small moments, hidden behind the ordinary-looking doors of our neighbors. These are love stories, for the most part, about what happens when good people lose their passions and life leaves them stunned but not broken. Lystra is a writer of great wisdom and artistry, with a voice that makes you lean close and listen hard, shushing the noise around you so you will not miss a word.
—VALERIE LAKEN, author of Dream House and Separate Kingdoms
“(Lystra) takes care in rendering the subtle, intimate moment, without rushing it or spinning it toward easier or artsier territory. He respects the complexity of real human interaction in fleeting moments. This is rare these days and reminds me of Richard Bausch, Richard Ford, and Ron Carlson.”
—STEVE AMICK, author of The Lake, the River & the Other Lake and Nothing But a Smile