HOPEFUL MONSTERS: Paperback & Ebook available now!




“Roger McKnight is a very slick writer with an incredibly quirky sensibility. Miss him at your own peril.”

Mark SaFranko
Author of Hating Olivia, Lounge Lizard, God Bless America, Dirty Work, and The Suicide

“Roger McKnight is an extremely talented writer, and among his many gifts is an ability to maintain, even though his characters struggle in an America fraught with lousy jobs, racism, busted relationships, damaged war vets, and homelessness, a subtle but believable hint of optimism that things will turn out alright in the end. ‘Hopeful Monsters’ is one of the best collections of linked stories I’ve ever read.”

– Donald Ray Pollock –
Author of Knockemstiff, Devil All The Time, and The Heavenly Table

“These are stories full of compassion and humanity that beautifully evoke the plains of Minnesota from an exciting and authentic new voice in American letters.”

– James Miller –
Author of Lost Boys, Sunshine State, and Unamerican Activities

“Hopeful Monsters is my kind of collection: stories that feature an array of intriguing characters brought to life through elegant, often gritty specificity that illuminates what it is to be human.”

– Adam Lock –
Author of Dinosaur

“Roger McKnight writes with compassion, precision and humour about Minnesota and its people. In the carefully rendered world of this collection, chance and circumstance bring disappointment and struggle, but also moments of precious hope.”

– Wendy Erskine – 
Author of Sweet Home

“Authentic slices of Midwest ‘thick-time’, a place where time hasn’t stood still but marches to a different beat. Open-ended stories of how change comes to those that wait. Loved these stories. Off-kilter and hopeful.”

– Wayne Holloway – 
Author of Bindlestiff

“My favourite thing about reading Roger McKnight’s stories is that you forget you are reading fiction. In Hopeful Monsters you encounter real people who vibrate with life, with mystery, and also with pain and humour. This collection shows me why I read stories – to see beneath the surface of real lives and remember that I am not alone.”

– Jason Brown –
Author of Driving the Heart & Why The Devil Chose New England For His Work

“Like a stranger in a bar regaling you with stories of his past, there is a whiff of fact and fiction, along with an overwhelming sense of unease.”

– Josh Denslow –
Author of Not Everyone is Special

“Roger McKnight encapsulates the chill and uniqueness of Minnesotan culture. His prose tip toes across a vast landscape of sentiment, leaving the reader curious to learn more and hopeful like his monsters.”

– Michelle Blair Wilker –
Author of Chain Linked

“Roger McKnight takes us on a riveting societal tour of Minnesota in this beautifully realised collection. We’re granted a peek of life through the eyes of the downtrodden – war vets, immigrants, and homeless among them – but one of McKnight’s greatest achievements is the ability to find hope even in the darkest places. These are stories to savour.”

– Tomas Marcantonio –
Author of This Ragged, Wastrel Thing

“McKnight knows that every story is many stories, that every life touches many lives. These powerful stories artfully braid the stark narratives of strangers into something wondrous and transcendent. Indeed, this is what we talk about when we talk about hope. The prose is incandescent, the characters riveting, the themes complex. Roger McKnight is one savvy, lyrical, and fearless writer.”

John Dufresne –
Author of Louisiana Power and Light, Johnny Too Bad, No Regrets, and Coyote


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Roger McKnight’s debut collection depicts individuals hampered by hardship, self-doubt, and societal indifference, who thanks to circumstance or chance, find glimmers of hope in life’s more inauspicious moments. Hopeful Monsters is a fictional reflection on Minnesota’s people that explores the state’s transformation from a homogeneous northern European ethnic enclave to a multi-national American state. Love, loss and longing cross the globe from Somalia and Sweden to Maine and Minnesota, as everyday folk struggle for self-realisation. Idyllic lakesides and scorching city streets provide authentic backdrops for a collection that shines a flickering light on vital global social issues. Read and expect howling winds, both literal and figurative, directed your way by a writer of immense talent.

“There’s an interesting fusion within the stories. Larger, universal and global issues such as poverty, race and injustice are picked apart, but from a Minnesotan point of view. Wherever you are in the world, this pedestal will provide a fresh take on opinion and assumption, and definitely leave readers understanding themselves and the world that little bit better. Ultimately we learn that all humans, wherever they live and whatever their circumstance, exist according to a series of common threads. It’s a sobering read and is ideal for large group discussion settings such as book clubs and universities. There really is something here for everyone.”

– PR for Books –

“What I adored most about Hopeful Monsters was the fact that Roger highlighted the plight of several vulnerable groups within his stories. He wasn’t afraid to discuss sensitive topics such as suicide, homelessness, addiction, and mental health, creating an array of intriguing characters and scenarios to give a voice to the forgotten in our society.”

– Dan Stubbings –
The Dimensions Between Worlds

“In Hopeful Monsters we see the inner workings of people’s lives and thoughts expressed through the often guarded language we use to shield what we’re really, truly saying. Just like the great writers of dialogue – Greene, Carver, Moore, and others – McKnight’s thoughtful expressions and turns of phrase equip his characters with a sense of agency that never tells the reader how to feel, but instead guides them to that perfect crux of empathy where we are surprised not to be reading characters that seem realistic; but to be reading characters that feel like ourselves; who have the same thoughts, feelings, and reactions that we do. In this way, reading this book feels like being in a series of intimate conversations with your closest friends.”

– Proffesor Wu –
Nothing In The Rulebook

“The prose is quite stunning and the dialogue is extremely clever, providing for an excellent narrative device. McKnight never patronises the reader, avoiding over exposition, and this ensures that every story has real depth and authenticity. McKnight is a very talented new voice in literary American fiction who has a conscience and deals with relevant, often hard hitting themes. The book thoroughly entertains throughout and I’ll be revisiting these stories until McKnight’s next offering is available. Hopefully soon.”

– Colin James –
The BookSpine


Roger McKnight hails from Little Egypt, a traditional farming and coal-mining region in downstate Illinois. He studied and taught English in Chicago, Sweden, and Puerto Rico. Swedes showed Roger the value of human fairness and gender equity, while Puerto Ricans displayed the dignity of their island culture before the tragedy of Hurricane Maria and the US government’s shameful post-disaster neglect of the island’s populace. Roger relocated to Minnesota and taught Swedish and Scandinavian Studies. He now lives in the North Star State.

Recent Reviews of Hopeful Monsters:

The Dimension Between Worlds

Nothing in the Rulebook

The Book Spine

Hopeful Monsters Book Details:

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: STORGY Books; Main edition (30 Aug. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-9998907-4-2
  • Product Dimensions: 216mm x 138mm

You can read Roger’s previously published short story ‘Iago’ here

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