Jesse Lee Kercheval is the author of twelve books of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Her latest book is the novel My Life as a Silent Movie, (Indiana University Press, 2013). Her novella Brazil (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2010) won the Ruthanne Wiley Memorial Novella Contest. Her poetry collection Cinema Muto (Southern Illinois University Press, 2009) was selected by David Wojahn for a Crab Orchard Open Selection Award. Her story collection The Alice Stories (Universityof Nebraska Press, 2007) won the Prairie Schooner Fiction Book Prize. Her first story collection The Dogeater (University of Missouri Press, 1987) won the Associated Writing Programs Award in Short Fiction. Space (Algonquin Books, 1998), her memoir about growing up near Cape Kennedy during the moon race, won the Alex Award from the American Library Association. Her novel, The Museum of Happiness, set in Paris in 1929, has been reissued with a new afterword by the author by the University of Wisconsin Press as part of the Library of American Fiction. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Radcliffe Research and Study Center at Harvard, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Wisconsin Arts Board, the Corporation of Yaddo, and James A. Michener and the Copernicus Society.

“Kercheval’s novella is not only structured as a journey but is a wild ride through much of America, portraying two unlikely companions in a highly charged and tense relationship. The narrative moves briskly, in economic language, and chronologically, without the customary flashbacks and postmodernist collage tricks—an extremely well written and suspenseful tale, cinematically vivid, provocative, and wonderful.” –Josip Novakovich

Brazil reminds me of why I started reading in the first place, to be enchanted, to be swept up and carried away from my world and dropped into a world at once more vivid and incandescent. The prose is luminous and compassionate, the characters are riveting and heroic, the themes complex and resonant, and the pace is relentless. This is not a book you can put down before it’s finished with you. You won’t soon forget Paulo and Claudia as they rocket across the country into the heartland, searching for love, family, and a home in the world.” –John Dufresne

“The novella is at once the most elegant and demanding form: a writer must balance the looseness of a novel with the concision of a short story, a feat that only the bravest and most talented of us can manage. In Brazil, Jesse Lee Kercheval proves, yet again, that she is exactly the right writer for the job. A wild American picaresque, Brazil snaps along briskly, yet feels full-fleshed, and brims with a sly wit and grace.” –Lauren Groff

“What sleight-of-hand have we here—a novella that’s as rich as a book three times its length while as seamless as a sonnet? Jesse Lee Kercheval’s Brazil is a glorious road trip into Florida’s heart of darkness, where damned near anything is possible, and points beyond. No one in this book has ever been told not to give rides to strangers. For that, this reader is grateful.” –John McNally

More Information:

Jesse Lee Kercheval Website

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Quivering Pen




Publication Date



Cleveland State University Poetry Center