News of the Air
October 4, 2022
Immigration problems, climate issues, dysfunctional families, road barricades, and the division between haves and have nots play a role in this dream-like novel. Set in Wisconsin’s stunning Northwoods, News of the Air (Black Lawrence Press, 2022) by Jill Stukenberg centers on a mother, father, and their teenage daughter, who voice the story from each of their perspectives. The novel opens with a pregnant Allie recalling her divorce, worried about her future, avoiding roadblocks to get to work at a Chicago museum, and frantic because of nearby eco-terrorism. In the next chapter, Allie and her husband Bud are proprietors of a far north rustic resort, and their previously homeschooled daughter Cassie, is about to finish her schooling in the local high school. Then two children show up in a canoe, and there is confusion about who they are and what they’re doing in the Northwoods.
Jill Stukenberg’s short stories have appeared in Midwestern Gothic, The Collagist (now The Rupture), Wisconsin People and Ideas magazine, and other literary magazines. News of the Air, her debut novel, won the Big Moose prize from Black Lawrence Press. Stukenberg is a graduate of the MFA program at New Mexico State University, has received writing grants from the University of Wisconsin Colleges, and has been awarded writing residencies at Shake Rag Alley and Write On, Door County. Jill is an Associate Professor of English at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point at Wausau. She grew up in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and has previously taught in New Mexico and the Pacific Northwest. Jill enjoys cross country skiing, hiking, and sailing on Green Bay in a small, very old, but still bright blue sailboat with a cracked wooden tiller. She lives in Wausau with the poet Travis Brown and their eight-year-old.