Cul De Sac, my first book

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“Scott Wrobel is an amazingly sharp and gifted writer, and his debut, Cul De Sac, set in a twenty-first century American suburbia of lost dreams and troubled families, is not only one of the truest and saddest collections of stories I’ve ever read, but also one of the funniest.”

       — Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff
and
The Devil All The Time

Reviews, Interviews and Press

Brooklyn Rail

“Wrobel tells his stories with such humor and grace that one feels oddly uplifted by their relentlessly unflattering depictions of Midwestern cul-de-sac life. In this way, he becomes a Fiction Hero—he has looked at life in the face, squared himself against confusion and suffering, and transmuted the experience into something worthwhile, even beautiful.”

St. Paul Pioneer Press

“There is so much life and emotion in these stories readers will feel like they’re living next door to these men, who go to their middle-class jobs, tend their lawns and homes, and try to make sense of their relationships with their wives and their unhappy or sick children.”

NewPages

“A good book requires the reader to do a little leg work, and cul de sac is well worth the effort (and the occasional moments when you will be catapulted out of your comfort zone). Wrobel takes a hard look at what lies beneath the false appearances of suburbia and asks us to consider whether perceived risk is worth living a detached life, a life in captivity.

Nervous Breakdown: Interview by Steve Almond
(interview)

I admire that you’re able to break down your people, and yet remain compassionate toward them. Clearly you’ve had therapy. Yes?”

Hazel & Wren

The stories are unflinchingly honest to their character’s faults . . ., but also to their tiny, inner moments of reflection, where we begin to understand them. And then we begin to wonder if we’re going insane.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune
(review, kind of; more of a book report, really, with slightly concealed hostility)

Scott Wrobel’s debut collection portray men on the brink. They’re drunk, horny, exhausted, crude, combative with their wives, freaked out by their kids. Wrobel’s ‘regular guys’ live in a Minneapolis-area cul de sac with a patch of wilderness at the back of their property lines. Coyotes live here, both real and imagined, stalking the men who inhabit this bleak suburban neighborhood.”

Connotation Press
(review, interview, and story)

“There is no way out, once you entrench yourself in the lives of these characters that seem shackled to each other like prison cellmates.”

Reading Minnesota

“Great read for those looking for realistic characters, warts and all. Wrobel pulls no punches in showing us these men’s dark sides.”

Mill City Bibliophile 

“The terror of a book like this is that nothing outwardly changes. Even with its telescopic movement through time, Cul de Sac warns that the cul de sac—both this particular cul de sac and its wider ideology—will be with us for a long time, no matter what the characters learn about themselves in the process.”

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