The Unauthorized Biography of Michele Bachmann and Other Stories by Ken Brosky

The Unauthorized Biography of Michele Bachmann and Other Stories by Ken Brosky is a collection of short stories prefaced by a bit of background about each story in the collection, including his trio of “Dodge County” stories.  While this kind of preface can be enlightening or amusing, this one just seems unnecessary given the powerful stories beyond this “prologue.”  From surviving a car accident that takes the life of your best friend to surviving the loss of a new friend in Darfur, these stories are poignant and threatening.  They serve to demonstrate that loss can happen unexpectedly and can tear at you emotionally and physically.

“When you see your best friend’s neck snap back with all the force of three thousand pounds behind it before everything goes black, there are other bruises, too.  They hide under the skin, just out of sight, and they take longer to heal.” (“The Third Pile,” page 50)

Some of these tales of survival border on the surreal, such as the arrival of the horseman of the apocalypse or a man deciding his future based on how many virtual deer are killed in a video game.  Beyond the theme of survival, the collection also touches upon the theme of carpe diem — to stop waiting for something to happen or your fortunes to change — and take a risk.  Each story is narrated by the first person, but the narrators are not the same, though they are similar in humor.  Some narrators are harsh in their machismo, while others are self-deprecating about their accomplishments and talents.  Brosky offers a variety of insecure male perspectives in these stories, which demonstrate how men cope with their insecurities. However, there are perspectives that are determined and secure in their convictions, no matter how unorthodox.  Another interesting aspect of these survival stories is the settings chosen from rural areas to urban Washington, D.C., and with a range of characters from artists to war veterans.

The Unauthorized Biography of Michele Bachmann and Other Stories by Ken Brosky brings to the fore the power of indecision and chaos in a way that forces each narrator to struggle and survive even when circumstances are not as they expect them to be nor as they want them to be.  Brosky’s prose is clipped at times, weaving stories in very few pages that leave a lasting impression.  In some cases the characters are not as well developed and appear to be mouthpieces talking to the reader, although there is one essay with a satiric bent in which that is to be expected.  Some stories leave their marks better than others, but overall, it is a satisfying look at survival in a number of different situations.

About the Author:

Ken Brosky was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and received his bachelor’s degree in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He received his MFA from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and currently teaches English at various colleges in the Madison-Milwaukee area. He’s currently averaging 3 short story publications per year and wants to keep it that way.




Additionally, this is a stop on The Literary Road Trip since some of these stories take place in/near Washington, D.C.



This is my 14th book for the 2012 New Authors Challenge.


  1. Even though this isn’t my cup of tea, I always enjoy reading your wonderful reviews.

  2. I would recommend buying this collection on Kindle, because it’s inexpensive and convenient. Also, I thank Serena for taking the time to read the collection!

    • You’re welcome. I enjoyed it. I hope the server issue yesterday didn’t prevent people from asking you questions on your guest post.

  3. Not sure if I’d actually read this book, but the stories do sound interesting. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • I read the prologue and thought…egad what have I gotten myself into, but as I kept reading, I enjoyed it more and more. If you ever want to just check out 1-2 stories, its on the shelf…feel free.

  4. Okay, I didn’t expect this when I saw the title — wow! The excerpt you offered was intense — beautiful, but intense. This sounds like a fantastic volume — I’m going to keep an eye out for it. Thanks for lifting up this unusual collection!

  5. Sounds like a worthwhile read and a unique assortment of stories.