Read Around Ohio: Stay and Fight

Madeline ffitch


Stay and Fight (2019) is Madeline ffitch’s first novel, following the acclaimed short story collection Valparaiso, Round the Horn (2014).

Helen follows her boyfriend from Seattle to Appalachia. When the relationship flames out, Helen is left on her own: “It was me against the land and I was in awe. No one was watching me all day but god, and I didn’t believe in god.” She befriends a couple, Karen and Lily, and with them raises off the fat of the land a child called Perley, subsisting in part on roadkill and acorns, and living in a shack. All the while, Helen adds to her binder labelled “Best Practices: A Compendium of Helpful Strategies and Methods for Optimum Daily Living,” which includes advice such as: “What to Do with Bananas: Only peel one if you are ready to eat the whole thing. Butter Knife: Lick it clean so as to not attract ants. Tea Bags: Reuse. Dishes: Consider giving your dirty dish to someone who hasn’t eaten yet to save time on dishwashing.”

If you enjoyed Stay and Fight, we suggest these Ohio side trips: