Eliot Treichel


A Series of Small Maneuvers



For 15-year-old Emma Wilson, everything is changing. Uncomfortable at home and in school, Emma is growing up and feels isolated from her friends and family. Things go from bad to unfathomably worse when Emma inadvertently causes an accident that kills her increasingly distant father on a spring break canoe trip meant to bring them closer together. Suddenly, Emma’s efforts to reconcile with her father as a parent and a person have to happen without him, and she must confront her guilt and her grief to begin moving forward. With the help of river rats, ranch hands, and her horse, Magic, Emma finds strength in herself as she and her family navigate their reentry into “normal” life.


  • Oregon Book Awards Readers Choice Award Winner
  • Reading the West Award Winner


“Treichel’s realistic and compelling characterization of Emma highlights a maturity into adulthood that offers no easy solutions to the difficulty of grief, but celebrates the best of her family.”

Publisher’s Weekly, starred review


“A brilliant and subtle book that sweeps through you with the grace and violence of a river, this story about fathers and daughters and grief takes you on an unexpected trip through a girl’s sudden coming-of-age, and the deep canyons of who she might be long after the last page.”

-Carrie Mesrobian, Morris Award finalist for Sex & Violence


“With insight, passion and sneaky humor, Treichel probes deeply in life’s pool of what’s trivial and what’s not.”

-Robin Cody, author of Ricochet River


“Treichel handles tragedy, love, and human frailty with clear-eyed compassion. He captures the voice of a young girl with absolute authenticity, weaving a tale that is both unique and universal, and reminding us, once again, that the gift of a great writer is the ability to see through the eyes of another.”

-Karelia Stetz-Waters, Lambda Award finalist for Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before

Close Is Fine



Like a Polaroid snapshot, this finely wrought collection of short stories gives us a brief glimpse into the quirky and complex lives that make up rural Wisconsin. As the characters struggle to define their individuality and reconcile their ideals with ordinary life, we are witness to their unique self-discoveries. At times mournful and haunting, this story collection celebrates the nobility of simple life, of striving and failing without ever losing hope.


  • Wisconsin Library Association Literary Award Winner


“The stories in Close Is Fine are a rare treat: vivid and voice-driven, sometimes hilarious and often heartbreaking, with surprising perceptions on every page… Eliot Treichel’s characters are all complexly flawed and deeply human.”

-Scott Nadelson, author of Aftermath and Saving Stanley: The Brickman Stories


“The gleeful destruction of this collection’s first pages is an early warning that you’re entering a world like no other… The stories of Close Is Fine could not be so funny if they weren’t also so sad, and their energy is always tempered by a narration of sharp reflection and clear, sure-footed prose. This is what I admire most about the book—the tension between the intelligence and control of the storytelling and the mistakes, the lack of control in the actions of the characters he tells us about. These are consistently provocative stories, stories of a very high order.”

– Peter Rock, author of The Shelter Cycle and My Abandonment


“This splendid collection of stories is part thrill-ride, part ethnographic field study, and part love song… Eliot Treichel is a master ventriloquist, able to summon and sustain an amazing range of voices, and to let his characters tell their glorious and surprisingly wise stories with their own idiosyncratic eloquence.”

– K.L. Cook, author of The Girl from Charnelle and Last Call: Stories