Winner, Foreword Reviews 2018 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Gold for
Praise for Train Shots: stories ~
Winner of the 2014 IPPY Gold Medal for Short Fiction
& Long-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award
"Evidently, Vanessa Blakeslee was somebody’s big secret until now. I just don’t know how they kept her from us or why they would. No one writes this good the first time out, do they? Train Shots is more than a promising first collection by a formidably talented writer; it is a haunting story collection of the first order. I was flat knocked out. Blakeslee's range and confidence are astonishing. I can’t forget these beguiling and unsparing stories and I don’t want to. They are exhilarating to read; some are breathtaking and achingly beautiful, others will keep you up at night. When I finished Train Shots, I walked around for days seeing the world through its lens. Do yourself a favor, buy this book, get in on the secret before everyone else knows what you soon will: here is the future of contemporary fiction." -John Dufresne, author of No Regrets, Coyote
Everyone here is both at home and lost: a deep sea fisherman discovers he may not be allowed to return to shore; a newlywed couple embark on a disastrous honeymoon; a niece and uncle debate the ethics of hunting after a nuclear fallout; a surfer struggles between cross-continental commitments and local attractions; and a single mother begins preparations for the end of the world as we know it. From the unforgiving surf of Costa Rica to suburban Florida, the stories in Perfect Conditions arise within worlds we know and others that only resemble our own. Blakeslee’s characters often struggle to find control in unrelenting circumstances, in places which are often anything but welcoming.
A 2018 Chicago Tribune "Summer Reads" pick, Perfect Conditions has also won the NIEA (National Indie Excellence Award) Gold Medal for Short Stories, the 2019 IPPY (Independent Publisher's) Silver Medal for Short Story Fiction, and has received great praise from critics and readers alike.