A story of life, land, community—and magic


finalist, 2017 foreword indies for literary fiction




13 books by & about women that you might have missed in 2017 —but shouldn't, bustle

December Midwest connections pick by midwest booksellers


“Every year, at least one small-press book comes out of nowhere to become one of my favorites. This year, it’s Glory Days, a quiet Midwestern ghost story with prose as clear and cold as the Nebraska plains in winter.”
— ADAM MORGAN, Chicago Review of Books


Indiebound | University of Nebraska Press | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Named one of the "19 Books You Should Read This September" by the Chicago Review of Books

"In a world as unsteady, unstable, as forever shifting as this one, to see one man rise from such depths to find a life he considers worth living should inspire us all to never give up on our dreams and ourselves."  —Elena Pruitt, Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

Read the full review from Journal Gazette & Times-Courier here


praise for Glory Days by Melissa Fraterrigo

"Astonishing writing about a world that deserves greater attention in contemporary literature"  Barbara Hoofert, STARRED review

Read the full review from Library Journal.

"If Willa Cather and Cormac McCarthy had a love child, she would be a writer such as Fraterrigo, whose imagery is equally evocative and unforgiving and whose characters are every bit as anguished and forlorn."    — Booklist

Read the full review from Booklist.

"Melissa Fraterrigo's Glory Days is a stunning tour de force centered in a small cattle ranching town."—Paige Van de Winkle, Foreword Reviews, STARRED review

Read the full review from Foreword Reviews.

"...Glory Days is a brutally beautiful tale about tortured souls in a Midwestern inferno of lost jobs, lost hopes, lost connections." —Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune

"Language and imagery of great originality are the most striking aspects of Melissa Fraterrigo’s Glory Days ... In her sensory language and descriptions, Fraterrigo's choices are distinctive and evocative, whether of characters, action, or landscape.—Celine Keating,  Necessary Fiction

Read the full review from Necessary Fiction.

"In a world so ruined, characters like Luann find hope in what's theirs--humanity...Fraterrigo has the ability to connect her readers to the farm land through the cattle that graze it and the characters that struggle to bring life into a torn world." —Hadeel Salameh, Mid-American Review

Read the full review by Hadeel Salameh, Mid-American Review

"It is a tribute to Fraterrigo’s skill as a writer that when she closes Glory Days on a note of hope, even redemption, it doesn’t feel tacked on. Teensy’s second chance comes about, but not through a determination to change or a sudden moral awakening. He is no hero, and he’s certainly no saint. Teensy is, however, the one character in this novel who has something to believe in, and the sheer, stubborn strength to persevere."—R T Both, Colorado Review

Read the full review by RT Both, Colorado Review

Listen to the full review from WBAA, Public Radio from Purdue University

Melissa Fraterrigo’s novel strikes with the unexpected force of a summer tornado. It’s a marvel as gritty as the carnival at the edge of her fictional rural town of Ingleside, where characters worthy of a Flannery O’Connor story struggle and self-medicate to make sense of lives marked by loss, violence, and despair. Fraterrigo is as much a seer as her Trompe-l’œil Fredonia the Great, who aches when she must reveal the truth. Fredonia tells her estranged daughter, ‘Honey, I’ll help you work toward any dream that you have. But this. This is not a dream. Laying hands is a job.’ These characters yearn for one another, across time, even across death, and they take comfort in the past and in one another, however fragile their connections.

—Bonnie Jo Campbell, National Book Award finalist and author most recently of Mothers, Tell Your Daughters

Melissa Fraterrigo’s Glory Days presents a world of ghosts and seers, the living and the dead, bound together in a small farming community at the crossroads of tradition and the most cavalier of progress. Spinning through a series of unforgettable characters, each lured by a sense of freedom, violence, or the need to belong, these stories surprise us, echo with significance, and draw together to paint a complicated portrait of a place about to be lost. 

—Michelle Hoover, author of The Quickening and Bottomland

Melissa Fraterrigo’s people will brand an impression upon your soul ... She knows her land and its people,
their struggles, conflicts, ways of survival and ruin, but most of all the roots to family, and wanting to escape
that family. Her people are forever stained by their upbringing, memories and consequences of choice. Melissa’s stories are a powerful reminder of what it means to be human. 

—Frank Bill, author of Crimes in Southern Indiana, Donnybrook and The Savage

Glory Days is a tender and tragic portrayal of small town life, filled with beautifully flawed characters whose voices are unforgettable. From this fascinating cast, we hear about the economic trials of farming, the realities of poverty, the solace of land. From calving season to an amusement park, this novel takes us on a journey that’s told with generosity of spirit and a true tenderness of the land and people. A beautiful book.

—Laura Pritchett, author of Stars Go Blue

The small plains town of Ingleside, Nebraska, is populated by down- on-their-luck ranchers and new money, ghosts and seers, drugs and greed, the haves and the have-nots. At the center of this novel is the story of Teensy and his daughter, Luann, who face the loss of their land even as they mourn the death of Luann’s mother. Some townspeople find enormous wealth when developers begin buying up acreage. When Glory Days—an amusement park—is erected, past and present collide, the attachment to the land is fully severed, and the invading culture ushers in even darker times. 

In Glory Days, Melissa Fraterrigo combines gritty realism with magical elements to paint an arrestingly stark portrait of the painful transitions of twenty-first-century, small town America. She interweaves a slate of gripping characters to reveal deeper truths about our times and how the new landscape of one culture can be the ruin of another.

Daddy’s not the only guy Papermill laid off, he’s just the unluckiest, he says. The buckets of ice have turned to water by the time they are done. Some shake Daddy’s hand or squeeze his shoulder. Take care now, they say. We sit on the steps and watch the train of cars leave land that has been in my mother’s family for three generations—land the bank has sold. Dust whorls. We sweat. Vultures spoon the sky.