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                The Rending And The Nest

            Coming from Bloomsbury in 2018 


“Schwehn has created a postapocalyptic world in which why is not the main question. The Rending happened; accepting that is the first step toward recovery for the novel's multidimensional characters. This beautifully written story begs to be read again.” –  starred review, Library Journal

“[An] unsettling, postapocalyptic page-turner . . . Schwehn has created an intriguing and bizarre world where there are no easy answers . . . Readers will race to find out just what is happening and what it all means . . . The entertainment value is high, and those looking for a new dystopian world will be pleased.”Booklist

“This absorbing debut novel . . . offers a world that is intensely familiar yet strange . . . Schwehn's narrator establishes her place among post-apocalyptic heroines through her willingness to remake the world from what she has left and her unlikely arrival at hope.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Schwehn's bizarre novel blends seamless storytelling with the raw emotion of a world suddenly turned on its head . . . The story culminates in a riveting rescue mission. Schwehn's novel is nerve-wracking in the most satisfying way, and the characters are vivid enough to elevate this story above the well-traveled terrain of postapocalyptic fiction.” –Publishers Weekly

When 95 percent of the earth’s population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: She cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion, scavenges the Piles for supplies they might need, and avoids loving anyone she can’t afford to lose. She has everything under control. Almost.

Four years after the Rending, Mira’s best friend, Lana, announces her pregnancy, the first since everything changed and a new source of hope for Mira. But when Lana gives birth to an inanimate object — and other women of Zion follow suit — the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new life begins to fray. As the Zionites wrestle with the presence of these Babies, a confident outsider named Michael appears, proselytizing about the world beyond Zion. He lures Lana away and when she doesn’t return, Mira must decide how much she’s willing to let go in order to save her friend, her home, and her own fraught pregnancy.


tailings final 8.33.34 AM.jpeg


                                   Minnesota Book Award Winner

“It is not easy to write fluidly of earnestness. Nor is it simple to lend a real radiance to depictions of epiphanies…But thanks to her command of language and her well-placed use of imagery, Schwehn nudges the reader into the physical as well as contemplative experience…Wisely, she does not inflate the significance of her own quest. These elements endow this memoir with grace itself — and that is the achievement and appeal of this remarkably absorbing tale.”  — Rosemary Herbert, Star Tribune

“[Schwehn’s] deep diving into time and surfacing into the present reality helps readers appreciate what is essentially a coming-of-age story but with its own twists… Kaethe Schwehn has mined every vein of her younger self, and she has emerged as a writer of great promise.”  — Shirley Showalter, Christian Century

In August of 2001, Kaethe Schwehn needed her own, personal Eden. She was a twenty-two-year-old trying to come to terms with a failed romance, the dissolution of her parents' marriage, and her own floundering faith. At first, Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center nestled in the Cascade Mountains, seemed like a utopian locale: communal meals, consensus decision-making, and eco-friendly practices. But as the months wore on, the idyll faded and Kaethe was left with 354 inches of snow, one prowling cougar, sixty-five disgruntled villagers, and a pile of copper mine tailings 150 feet high. Her Eden was a toxic Superfund site. How do we navigate the space between who we are and who we would like to become, between the world as it is and world as we imagine it could be? Tailings is a lyrical memoir of intentional community told from the front lines, a passionate and awkward journey about embracing the ""in-between"" times of our lives with grace and hope.


Tanka & Me


“As with the best writing, I found myself simultaneously devastated and soothed, satiated and hungry for more.”  Susanna Childress, author of Entering the House of Awe

“Meet Tanka, the girlish/ghoulish spirit at the heart of Kaethe Schwehn’s marvelous Tanka & Me. She’s ‘all ears and a liver,’ knows extraordinary things, has a boyfriend named Briar and poignant adventures in grief, but her penchant for detail, at once hilarious and harrowing, is all Kaethe Schwehn.”  Leslie Adrienne Miller, author of Y

Tanka & Me is a visceral, pleading, and fierce collection of poems, underpinned with thudding vessels and satisfying wreckage. Kaethe Schwehn externalizes the overlooked power of women into a multidimensional character who hunts both the speaker and the reader. Our wild Tanka engages down deep with role-play, sex, prayer, and refusal until we can’t look away or stay quiet. These are love poems, but they love with claws and whiskey, bolt cutters and saws. You can love someone for a long time without knowing how, our speaker realizes, and Tanka prowls and preens and breaks us down until we know how to love ourselves, how to know ourselves, how to free ourselves. Tanka & Me is feminist poetry with muscle, bones, and heart.




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