Raft of Stars - Andrew J. Graff, Nickolas Butler - 03/23/2021 - 7:00pm

Raft of Stars


Raft of Stars is a fresh spin on the classic adventure novel that delves into the heartbeat of rural America. Set over the course of a few days in the summer of 1994, this is a story of two young boys, a violent confrontation with an abusive father, and their flight into the Wisconsin Northwoods. Andrew J. Graff will appear live via Crowdcast in conversation with Nickolas Butler. Join the event at: Before the event begins, you will see a countdown and the event image.


Raft of Stars is a firecracker of a book, taking its audience into America’s heartland aboard a humble river boat, with two tender leads and an astounding supporting cast that make the setting come alive and the plot hum. It’s the summer of 1994 in Claypot, Wisconsin, and the lives of ten-year-old Fischer "Fish" Branson and Dale "Bread" Breadwin are shaped by the two fathers they don’t talk about. One night, tired of seeing his best friend bruised and terrorized by his no-good dad, Fish takes action. A gunshot rings out, and the two boys flee the scene, believing that they have killed Fish’s dad. They head for the woods, where they find their way onto a raft, but the natural terrors of a gorge known to be deadly threatens to overwhelm them. Four adults track them into the forest, each one on a journey of his or her own. Fish’s mother Miranda, a wise woman full of fierce faith; his granddad, Teddy, who knows the woods like the back of his hand; Tiffany, a gas station attendant and poet looking for connection; and Sheriff Cal, who’s having doubts about a life in law enforcement. The adults track the boys toward the novel’s heart-pounding climax on the edge of the gorge and a conclusion that beautifully makes manifest the grace these characters find in the wilderness and in one another. This timeless story of loss, hope and adventure snakes like the river itself amidst the vividly rendered landscape of the Upper Midwest.

Andrew J. Graff


Andrew J. Graff is the author of novel Raft of Stars. His fiction and essays have appeared in Image and Dappled Things. Andrew grew up fishing, hiking, and hunting in Wisconsin's Northwoods. After a tour of duty in Afghanistan, Graff earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He lives in Ohio and teaches at Wittenberg University.

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True North

Nickolas Butler

Nickolas Butler

Nickolas Butler was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison as well as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and the author of the novel The Hearts of Men, the internationally bestselling and prizewinning novel Shotgun Lovesongs, and the acclaimed short story collection Beneath the Bonfire. He lives in Wisconsin with his wife and their two children.

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