november storm

Winner of the 2016 Iowa Short Fiction Award



November Storm

Robert Oldshue’s award winning debut collection published by the University of Iowa Press.

The characters in each of Robert Oldshue's stories want to be decent but find that hard to define.

An elderly couple is told that delivery of their Thanksgiving dinner has been canceled due to an impending blizzard. Unwilling to have guests but nothing to serve, they make a run to the grocery, hoping to get there and back before the snow, but crash their car into the last of their neighbors. A male prostitute tricks a closeted suburban schoolteacher only to learn that the trick is on him. A twelve-year-old girl negotiates the competing demands of her faith and her family as she is bat mitzvahed in the feminist ferment of the 1980s, and a quadriplegic goes missing at a nursing home. Was she assumed? In the process of finding out, all are reminded that caring for others, however imperfectly—even laughably—is the only shot at assumption we have.

 In upstate New York, a November storm is one that comes early in the season. If it catches people off-guard, it can change them in the ways Oldshue’s characters are changed by different but equally surprising storms.

Book cover photo by Evan Ludes

November Storm is available from these sellers

praise for november storm

Oldshue writes a loose, relaxed prose, that of an unhurried natural storyteller with a wry affection for many of his characters and a wide range of human interest.”
— Kirkus Review (starred review)
Oldshue, who is a practicing physician in Boston and an instructor at Harvard, has produced an impressive set of stories filled with distinct, vivid characters….With each subsequent story read, I found myself thinking that the most recent story was my new favorite….It is exceptional work, which I commend to you.
— Rob Cline, Cedar Rapids Gazette
Robert Oldshue’s debut collection is deceptive. While one could say these stories are about things as simple as driving in bad weather, seeing the next client, and visiting an old friend in the hospital, each of them is a world concentrated and distilled, filled with compassion, insight, and surprise.”
— Peter Turchi, author the New York Times Best Seller, A Muse and A Maze: Writing as Puzzle Mystery and Magic
A dazzling collection of stories, each with the depth and complexity of a novel. Utterly compelling, I read this book almost in one sitting. Robert Oldshue is an exciting and brilliant new literary voice. Perhaps the Great American Novel is now to be found in a collection of extraordinary short stories.”
— Rosamund Lupton, author of the New York Times Best Seller, Sister

Cited in Poets and Writers Magazine "5 more over 50" Nov/Dec, 2016

More important than content and themes is Oldshue’s ability to master the short story form”
— Davida Chazan, Book Browse, Featured Book
Throughout, the collection mines the interiority of these perhaps ordinary people who become fascinating through the access Oldshue gives us. I’m reminded of the Virginia Woolf line from To the Lighthouse: “But nevertheless, the fact remained, it was almost impossible to dislike anyone if one looked at them.”
— Corey Campbell, Colorodo Review
...will delight fans of Alice Munro and Richard Russo.
— Kel Munger, Lit/Rant
Oldshue’s debut collection, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award, finds consistent success in its depictions of intimate relationships.....All of Oldshue’s characters immediately engage the reader’s empathy as they navigate “the awkward facts people of long acquaintance have to step around.” Oldshue’s sturdy prose and potent, understated endings will satisfy fans of the classic short story.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review, featured fiction review)
Robert Oldshue writes stories that are as rich and self-complicating as novels. Set mostly in Boston, November Storm explores that city through the layers of its characters’ memories. Whether he’s writing from the point of view of a haunted psychiatrist, a gay prostitute weathering the AIDS epidemic, or a night watchman at a cemetery, Oldshue proceeds by patiently excavating the past from every place, unearthing a character’s associations and experiences until what feels like an entire life has been disclosed.”
— Bennett Sims, judge, 2016 Iowa Short Fiction Award, Iowa Writers' Workshop
Bob Oldshue has populated his emotionally intricate and very wise stories with lovable, broken people haunted by their actions or indeed by their failures to act. In sentences that tumble and spiral with masterful invisible complexity, November Storm delivers youngsters searching for themselves, oldsters searching for the past, and the middle-aged searching for redemption.”
— Shannon Cain, winner of the Drue Heinz Literary Prize for The Necessity of Certain Behaviors
These superb stories are written with a sharp wit, big heart, and profound wisdom. Oldshue’s genius lies in his ability to bring remarkable emotional complexity to the lives of ordinary characters whom we recognize as ourselves. A brilliant debut.”
— Helen Fremont, author of the National Best Seller, After Long Silence: A Memoir
...accessible stories that many will enjoy.
— Library Journal

a richly varied collection that dwells on the fragility of life and health and finds unexpected moments of human connection.
— Rebecca Foster, BookHugger



  • October 8-9: Iowa City Book Festival

    • Reading - October 8th, 10am - Prairie Lights Bookstore, Iowa City

    • Book Signing - October 8th, 4pm

  • October 15: Book Launch Party

    • The Taylor House 50 Burroughs St Jamaica Plain MA -  3-6pm - by invitation only

  • November 6: Public Reading


  • February 10: Book Signing

    • AWP Conference, Washington, D.C. 2pm

  • February 11: Public Reading

    • Kefa Cafe 963 Bonifant St Silver Springs, MD - 5:30pm

  • December 8: Public Reading

    • Chapter and Verse, Loring Greenough House: 12 South St. Jamaica Plain, MA - 7:30







  • September 19: New Letters Prize for Fiction, Judge Cristina García for “Thomas”


  • May 17: Kelly AuCoin (The Billions, House of Cards, The Post) read “The Levitron” at New York Live Arts to celebrate the The Bellevue Literary Review


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