Brooks Rexroat’s Thrift Store Coats transports readers to the postindustrial Midwest and explores the lives of those living on its quiet edge. Interwoven with themes of love, lineage, poverty, and survival, the characters in these stories grapple with the idea of identity — not only of where they fit into the world, but of how their origins impact their place in the future.
The collection’s titular story of focuses on a couple's navigation of poverty after the recession leaves each of them suddenly unemployed. In "Waiting Out the Apocalypse", characters from all walks of life are forced into action by that which is out of their control: the decisions of local lawmakers, and the devastating effects of a hurricane's landfall. "Five Meals in Paris" explores themes of solitude and circumstance by following a factory worker from Ohio as he fulfills his lifelong dream of traveling to Paris, France.
While Brooks Rexroat's prose possesses the power to break the hearts of readers, he establishes himself as a voice to be heard by masterfully repairing what has been broken — with unflinching honesty, and with a stunning sense of empathy.
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About the Author
After earning a Master of Fine Arts Degree in creative prose from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he embarked on a journey in higher education that has included teaching opportunities at open enrollment community colleges, regional public universities, and rigorous private liberal arts colleges. Now based at Brescia University in Western Kentucky, Rexroat spent the 2016-2017 academic year as a Fulbright U.S. Teaching and Research Scholar at Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University in Siberia, Russia. He was a 2014 Bread Loaf Bakeless Camargo Fellow in Cassis, France and his stories and essays have appeared in more than 30 journals and magazines on three continents.