UW-Green Bay alumna Wendy Wimmer (English, 1997) has received national attention for her newly published debut short story collection ENTRY LEVEL: STORIES. The collection received a starred Kirkus Review and a favorable feature in Publisher’s Weekly, as well as being lauded by literary news site The Millions as one of the most anticipated releases of the second half of 2022.
Kirkus writes of the collection, “Wimmer is a strong writer and fills the pages with elegant, evocative phrasing (“We said words of respect in our native languages, which between the eight of us totaled fourteen gods and six words meaning ‘grace’ ”). Her tone is often wry (“Evelyn thought of her bed like a trapdoor spider, capturing the interest and monetary resources of her romantic partners”), and even the book’s most sardonic narrators balance their misanthropy with a touch of curiosity. The stories vary in length and format but retain a clear aesthetic sense throughout, making it easy to imagine that the characters from “Flarby” and “Intersomnolence” might someday cross paths. The work educates without being didactic; readers learn about Wisconsin bingo regulations and Waardenburg syndrome in “INGOB” and the properties of sphagnum moss in “The Bog King,” with the bits of trivia blending seamlessly into the tales.”
The Washington Post featured Wimmer’s collection in it’s feature “10 Award-Winning Short Story Collections Worth Reading” on October 17, 2022. It said, “If punchy first sentences are to your taste, Wendy Wimmer’s “Entry Level” (Autumn House Fiction Prize) is the book for you. “When Mary Ellen’s left breast grew back on its own during our Saturday dinner break, we had confirmation that something weird was happening.” Many intros seem designed to startle; several stories enter fantastical terrain. In the delightful “Texts from Beyond,” a company purportedly helps people send messages to deceased relatives. Equally affecting are stories more rooted in the real, where Wimmer gets closer to character and emotion, such as “Billet-Doux,” told via unsent letters addressed to celebrities, random people, inanimate objects, a recurring guy on the BART and the protagonist herself.”
The collection was also featured in the October 24 issue of People Magazine as a Best New Books selection, next to Colleen Hoover’s IT STARTS WITH US. Of Wimmer’s book, the reviewers stated “This gleefully subversive debut presents 15 weird, wild and wonderful stories of everyday folk surviving in a world gone haywire… ENTRY LEVEL, like its title story, is strange magic indeed.”
After launching the book at Green Bay’s own The Lion’s Mouth Bookstore on October 6th, Wimmer embarked on a West Coast book tour, including stops in Denver, Salt Lake City, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Las Vegas, with future events in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, New York, Seattle and Kenosha.
BY KRISTIN BOUCHARD · NOVEMBER 1, 2022