Books by Laura Chester

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Rancho WeirdoRancho Weirdo

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» See select illustrations by Haeri Yoo
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» Review from Senior Women Web
» Review from Tucson Weekly
» Review from Kirkus Discoveries
» Review from Hipster Book Club
» Review from The Short Review
» Interview from The Short Review

With hilarious quirky drawings by Haeri Yoo.

Life on the U.S./Mexican border presents a clash of cultures and expectations that is explored with insight and dark humor in Laura Chester’s new collection of short stories, Rancho Weirdo (Bootstrap Press).Chester’s short fiction, accompanied by Haeri Yoo’s quirky drawings, challenge our perceptions of the new Southwest—which includes snowbirds, illegal immigrants, Native Americans, ranchers, and cowboys—whose fates intertwine in the harsh and beautiful Arizona landscape.

Chester, who lives in a remote area near the border, turns Southwestern stereotypes inside out in these bizarre and often hilarious stories.In Rancho Weirdo, when a woman offers food to illegal immigrants, they want a swim and a house tour, or when a New Yorker building a winter home in the desert encounters an Apache Indian’s disturbing spirit, the unanticipated consequences offer Chester an opportunity to examine her characters’ fears.Rancho Weirdo demonstrates an intimate knowledge of the underlying conflicts and comic possibilities inherent in border life.

Instead of preaching from a politically-correct platform, Chester illuminates other prejudices via a wide array of characters, including a Vietnamese student turned manipulative house sitter, a homophobic New York City businessman who finds himself attracted to a Sufi tennis pro who has taken a vow of silence, an African-American personal trainer who caters to the “seagull set,” and a camp for disturbed girls who have barely survived the 9/11 airplane bombings.

According to poet, novelist, and screenwriter Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall, Dalva, and Returning to Earth, Rancho Weirdo is a wonderful book and will thoroughly enliven any reader of serious fiction.”

Laura Chester has edited six widely-praised literary anthologies, most recently Eros & Equus: A Passion for the Horse (Willow Creek Press), with exquisite black and white photographs by Donna DeMari.Chester has selected prose and poetry from such writers as John Hawkes, Jane Smiley, Charles Bukowski, and D.H. Lawrence, that delves into the sensual relationship between human and horse.

Laura Chester,, has written many volumes of poetry, prose, and nonfiction. Most recently, Willow Creek Press published her first two children’s books, Hiding Glory, and Marvel the Marvelous, as well as Heartbeat for Horses.Donna DeMari and Chester also collaborated onthe nonfiction book Holy Personal: Looking for Small Private Places of Worship, with an introduction by Thomas Moore. Publisher’s Weekly called this piece of Americana, “A fascinating, in-depth study of how spirituality can express itself in that most intimate of worlds, the home.”A few of Chester’s other books include Lupus Novice, The Story of the Lake, Kingdom Come, and Sparks.  She lives in Patagonia, Arizona, as well as the Berkshires of Massachusetts.