Sightings: Stories

Sightings: Stories

Sightings: Stories

Sightings: Stories


B. J. Hollars's debut short story collection offers ten thematically linked tales, all of which are out to subvert conventional notions of the Midwestern coming-of-age story. The stories feature an assemblage of Bigfoot believers, Civil War reenactors, misidentified Eskimos, and grief-stricken clowns, among other outcasts incapable of finding a place in their worlds. In these marvelous stories, we can join a family on a very 21st-century trip along the Oregon Trail, watch as a boy builds a brother from a vacuum cleaner, follow a sandlot baseball team as it struggles to overcome an invasion by its Native American neighbors, and experience how a high school basketball squad takes to Sasquatch roaming its court. This genre-bending collection charts a bizarre pathway through the thickets of life on the road to adulthood. Pushing the limits of realism, these stories capture the peculiar rites of passage of growing up Midwestern.


It was the summer of 1975, and we were supposed to be feeling good.

Gerald Ford had just put an end to the war in Vietnam, and even more exciting, through the hail and the sideways rain, our hero, Bobby Unser, had somehow managed to be the first to limp his way past the checkered flag in Indy. Far less impressive was my own recent limping-completion of the seventh grade, an accomplishment whose only reward was leaving me stranded somewhere in the foggy terrain of my crushing adolescence, another casualty in a long line of those already infected.

Through no fault of their own, boys who had once been stars on their little league teams suddenly found themselves stretched and refashioned, stricken with nicknames like “string bean” and “crater face” with no signs of letting up. One morning they woke wholly dispossessed of coordination – their feet suddenly replaced with clown’s feet, their legs the legs of giraffes.

Our symptoms were no different than those faced by others our age, leading us to believe that our shared suffering was likely the result of some top-secret government conspiracy (someone had poisoned the water supply!), leaving us susceptible to growing older.

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