'Fly Over This' by Ryan Elliott Smith '14 Available For Preorder

Rebecca Pinwei Tseng
January 20, 2022

Alumnus Ryan Elliott Smith ‘14 will be publishing Fly Over This: Stories from the New Midwest with Tortoise Books on April 12, 2022. The book is now available for pre-order.

Smith’s debut collection of eight short stories, told from first-person vignettes, offers an unflinching and detailed look into the small towns of the rural Midwest. Characters struggle to raise children, strive to build a better future, and seek to escape their past. Some lose air, some long for the days of youth. While they may inhabit a flat physical terrain, the people in Fly Over This encounter an intricate landscape of emotional peaks and valleys.

Smith book cover

According to Associate Professor Paul Beatty, "Fierce, tender, and movingly midwestern, these are the stories one saves for special occasions; the third date, the fourth beer, the seventh inning stretch, and in the case of Ryan Elliott Smith a timeless first book. What a wonderfully bracing debut.”

Author Matt Gallagher also praises the collection, saying, "Ryan Elliott Smith is a storyteller of the old tradition—someone who charms, dismays, upends and thrills, not in spite of life's jagged complexities, but because of them. His debut collection Fly Over This brims with American yearning and human anguish, in a distinctive voice that'll mesmerize. I loved it."

Smith has published short stories in J Journal and the Chicago Quarterly Review, and was twice a top-25 finalist for Glimmer Train contests. He has studied at Story Studio and is the founding editor for the Broadsheet Journal, a Chicago literary magazine.