Tacoma Stories

272 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $16.99
ISBN: 9781942658542


ISBN: 9781942658559

Share on Goodreads

“Wiley’s characters are far from absurdist; it might even be accurate to say that they are mid-to-late 20th-century approximations of Chaucer’s pilgrims . . . all starting out together from Tacoma on a journey through adulthood. . . . Across the pilgrimage of their lives, we see a slow burnishing of their hopes and dreams, but also of their failures. Tacoma itself, like Dublin in James Joyce’s Dubliners, also asserts its own force of character. . . . Wiley has finally given his city the loving touch it deserves.”

Ann Neelon, Peace Corps Worldwide

( link)
see more reviews hide reviews

“One reads in the hope of delight. And that’s what [Tacoma Stories] provides. The linked stories that make up the collection are deeply pleasureful reads.”

Mark Jacobs, Peace Corps Worldwide

( link)

“[Wiley] is able to articulate a familiar and endearing world of Tacoma, humanizing the city to a reader who may not have even heard of the ‘City of Destiny.’”

Tacoma Ledger

( link)

“A marvelous mixture of humor and contemplative nostalgia, Tacoma Stories shows us that cities are more than just a collection of buildings, landmarks and roads. They’re a delicate web of lives and stories, each one connected in ways we might never expect.”

Puget Sound Trail

( link)

“Read[s] well as a literary version of a concept album with a unified theme.”

Tacoma Weekly

( link)

“Tacoma is underrepresented in literature, so this book presents a tremendous opportunity.”

Seattle Review of Books

( link)

“Wiley’s antic, wrenching collection of 14 interlocking stories reveals the subtle connections among a dozen characters whose unpredictable lives evolve through the decades in the title city. . . . [It] provides a tentatively affirmative answer to the question raised by a fictional version of the daughter of Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth: ‘Do you think a town can act as a hedge against the unabated loneliness of the human heart?’”

Publishers Weekly

( link)

“This linked set of seriocomic stories that hopscotches across a half-century . . . emphasizes unlikely transformations over time—and, as the title suggests, the role of place in those transformations. And though Wiley juggles plenty of characters, he has a light touch that’s fitting for a book rooted in the free-wheeling ’60s.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Compelling. . . . The genius of [Tacoma Stories] is that the relationships between characters and their backstories add depth to each entry, but the individual tales are still strong enough to stand on their own.”

Foreword Reviews

( link)

“Wiley shines in the short form, absorbing the reader in slices of one town and its inhabitants while rendering them universal.”

Shelf Awareness for Readers

( link)

“An extraordinarily entertaining read from cover to cover.”

Midwest Book Review

( link)

“Very highly recommended. . . . While the narratives are all strong individual stories, presented together as a whole they create a masterful collection and reflection on life over the decades.”

She Treads Softly

( link)

“Vivid and as varied as you can get. . . . Amusing, chilling, and sometimes downright bizarre, readers of short story collections with a unified theme will enjoy this.”

Barbarian Librarian

( link)

“Richard Wiley is one of our best writers. These stories satisfy in the way that brilliant short fiction always satisfies; one feels as if one has absorbed the expansive vision and drama of a novel. Read slowly, and I bet you’ll want to read again.”

Richard Bausch, author of Peace and Living in the Weather of the World

“It’s a strange and winsome feeling I have, reading Tacoma Stories, the blue sensation that Richard Wiley has made me homesick for a place I’ve never been, mourning the loss of friends I never had, in a life where each and every one of us is loved, however imperfectly. Think Sherwood Anderson inhabiting Raymond Carver’s Northwest and you’ll have a clear picture of Wiley’s accomplishment.”

Bob Shacochis, author of Easy in the Islands and The Woman Who Lost Her Soul

On St. Patrick’s Day in 1968, sixteen people sit in Pat’s Tavern, drink green beer, flirt, rib each other, and eventually go home in (mostly) different directions. In the stories that follow, which span 1958 to the present, Richard Wiley pops back into the lives of this colorful cast of characters—sometimes into their pasts, sometimes into their futures—and explores the ways in which their individual narratives indelibly weave together. At the heart of it all lies Tacoma, Washington, a town full of eccentricities and citizens as unique as they are universal. The Tacoma of Tacoma Stories might be harboring paranoid former CIA operatives and wax replicas of dead husbands, but it is also a place with all the joys and pains one could find in any town, anytime and anywhere.

Foreword Reviews “Book of the Day” selection

Excerpt from Tacoma Stories

Richard Wiley talks about Tacoma Stories and some of the city’s famous daughters (Rebecca Welles), infamous sons (Ted Bundy), and legendary watering holes with the Tacoma News TribuneStay Thirsty Magazine, and Desert Companion Magazine.

Read an excerpt from Tacoma Stories in Shelf Unbound magazine.