It’s almost a decade after the Great Recession, and in Colorado, St. Anthony Sausage has not recovered. Neither have its employees: a laid-off railway engineer, an exiled computer whiz, a young woman estranged from her infant daughter, an older man with cancer who lacks health care. As these low-wage workers interact under the supervision of the factory’s owner and his quietly rebellious daughter, they come to understand that in America’s postindustrial landscape, although they may help or comfort each other, they also have to do what’s best for themselves.
Over the course of these twelve interrelated stories, Rachel King gives life to diverse, complex, and authentic characters who are linked through the sausage factory and through their daily lives in a vividly rendered small town in Boulder County. The internal and external struggles of Bratwurst Haven’s population are immediately and intimately relatable and resonant: these people seek answers within the world they inhabit while questioning what it means to want more from their lives.
More about this collection
About the craft of writing linked short stories, Rachel King explains:
“[Question]: How did this collection come about? Did you start off with the intention of writing a linked collection or was there a certain point when you realized you wanted to make it a linked collection?
“RK: I wrote the first story in the collection “Railing” in summer 2016, then a year later wrote “A Deal,” then immediately started “Bratwurst Haven,” finishing it in spring 2018 along with an early draft of “Poker Night.” That’s the first time I thought that maybe I was writing a linked collection — but I gave myself the freedom not to, to just keep writing separate stories about these people in this place. Once I had eleven stories, I organized them into a collection, which was an intuitive process that I enjoyed. The collection begins with stories about characters in the factory, then moves out toward characters in the town, then moves back toward the factory in the concluding story. An editor and a peer reviewer at West Virginia University Press, after identifying some gaps, suggested that I cut one story and add two others before they published it. I enjoyed that process too, perfecting the breadth and depth of the collection.”