News and Reviews


Booklist Online
Each edgy, empathically imagined, and strongly crafted story gathered here will spur readers to envision quotation marks around the book’s title. The absence of “responsible adults” is staggering, sometimes catastrophic. A 10-year-old girl suddenly learns a terrible truth about her sad, lonely, single mother, and that she isn’t the only child here without a father whose mother puts her lovers first. Sexual longing and abuse surface repeatedly. Many of the fractured and sorrowful households McNair depicts are painfully ordinary and humble. Some take place in or near the Midwestern town of New Hope, introduced in her first collection, The Temple of Air (2011), including a tale about a young, pregnant, Latina who seeks refuge at a struggling church run by a recently widowed white woman pastor. Other stories unspool further afield, including the caustic yet tender narration by a thoughtful 13-year-old girl whose self-absorbed mother is a famous photographer. With tales set soon after 9/11, McNair’s grim, mischievously ludicrous, righteous, and compassionate stories of selfishness, irresponsibility, vulnerability, and newly discovered strength surround dire personal struggles with a dark aura of social tragedy.  
Donna Seaman, Booklist


 “These stories peer into the world of humanity with sharp and often devastating preciseness, pulling back the curtain on what it means to care and be cared for.” –interview with Sara Cutaia of Chicago Review of Books.

Hypertext Magazine

“In this remarkable collection, McNair hits her writerly stride with a sureness that is nothing less than breathtaking.” –interview with Christine Maul Rice of Hypertext Mag.

Patricia Ann McNair rocks the TEDx stage with her talk: SEX, SHAME, AND THE SHORT STORY! (view here)


And These Are the Good Times named a finalist for the Montaigne Medal!

Reviews, Interviews, and Media for And These Are The Good Times:


Rick Kogan‘s After Hours on WGN Radio features a conversation with Patricia Ann McNair. Listen here…

From Booklistreviewed by Donna Seaman: “Short story writer McNair (The Temple of Air, 2011) proves to be an irresistible personal essayist of refreshing candor,  vibrant openheartedness, rueful humor, and unassuming wisdom. …vital, confiding, potent, and superbly well-crafted essays…”


From NewCity, reviewed by Kate Burns: “Lots of us have lived in many places and have friends scattered far who we don’t see often, but when we do see them, it’s as if no time has passed. We pick up where we left off. That’s the feeling I got reading Patricia Ann McNair’s latest collection of essays and reminiscences on growing up, losing family members, travel, dancing, writing and sex, entitled “And These Are The Good Times.””

“And These Are The Good Times is a book for readers and writers alike. As a reader, you cannot walk away from these essays without reflecting on your own joy, sorrow, or mystery; as a writer, you cannot help but return to page after page to underline and asterisk the reminders of why we write. Because every experience–good, bad, strange–becomes a piece to the puzzle of who we are, how we are in relation, and why those questions matter.” ~ Interview with Christi Craig (read more…)


“One of the most compelling aspects about this collection is the way that the details of your family history gradually reveal themselves. Your mother and father were both strong, complicated people. What was it like treating the reality of your family life in a memoir, as opposed to your more accustomed mode of fiction?” ~ Interview with Punctuate Magazine. (read more…)

“In the tradition of the best essayists, McNair’s writing is marked by an honest vulnerability. She’s writing into the discovery (think George Orwell, think Virginia Woolf, think Gretel Ehrlich, think James Baldwin) instead of writing to a predetermined end.” Interview with Christine Rice of Hypertext Magazine. (read more…)


Patricia Ann McNair’s short story, “My Mother’s Daughter,” has won first prize in Solstice Literary Magazine’s annual competition! Read the story here…

And about The Temple of Air

The Temple of Air has been named Chicago Writers Association’s Book of the Year in Traditional Fiction! Award ceremony to be held at the Book Cellar in Chicago, January 19, 2013.



The Temple of Air winner of 2012 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award in Prose, sponsored by Southern Illinois University, Grassroots literary journal, and the Devil’s Kitchen Fall Literary Festival.


Society of Midland Authors names The Temple of Air as 2012 Finalist Awardee in Adult Fiction.


Chicago Sun-Times calls The Temple of Air “violently creative.” Read More…


Patricia Ann McNair named to Newcity’s Lit 50 List: Who Really Books in Chicago 2012.


From Booklist, reviewed by Donna Seaman:

“McNair’s plainspoken yet imaginative, complexly unnerving, and haunting stories raise essential questions of fate and will, appearances and truth, guilt and compassion.” Read More…


Interview on Chicago’s wonderful news and culture show Eight Forty-Eight with Alison Cuddy. WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR station. Listen Here…


Caroline Leavitt, New York Times Best-Selling Author says: “The Temple of Air, Patricia Ann McNair’s extraordinary new book, arrived in the mail and I began to leaf through it, and in one page, was hooked. Of course, I had to track her down and get her to come on my blog and talk about it.” Read More…


My First Time, a series on THE QUIVERING PEN, David Abrams‘ Literary Blog, features my essay “My First Bully.” Read More…


Michigan Writers on the Air host Aaron Stander features The Temple of Air on Interlochen Public Radio. Listen Here…


Neutron Bomb Punk Rock Writing event with me in the line-up in Chicago Public Radio Station WBEZ Alison Cuddy’s Weekender Top Choices! Listen Here…


Interview by Mare Swallow for Chicago Publishes: The City of Chicago’s Publishing Industry Programs. Listen Here…


Time Out Chicago

Jonathan Messinger of Time Out Chicago interviewed the author and called The Temple of Air an “immersive read.” Read More…


Conversation with RealGoodWords host Heidi Holtan of, Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Listen Here…


From New City, interview by Mike Gillis, posted September 4, 2011:

“The stories in Patricia Ann McNair’s debut collection “The Temple of Air” are steeped in a particular brand of hospitality and violence. They are definitively Midwestern, navigating deftly between the everyday and the disturbing, the prosaic and the poetic.” Read More…


“Your writing is lush.  Can I use that word?  You have anything against lush?” –This is what Chris Rice said in her interview with me in Hypertext“Who Doesn’t Want to Hear Great Stories?” Read More…


“The Heartbeat of Your Story” short essay on Indie Pulp 1X1 series. Read More…


From Friday, September 2, 2011. Posted by DA Kentner of THE READERS’ WRITERS, Freeport Journal-Standard and GateHouse News Service:

“Now Patricia has published a collection of short stories, each of which centers on the author’s love of life, humanity, and the delicate balance each of us must find deep within ourselves in order to persevere over adversity and the challenges life places in our path. The stories within “The Temple of Air” are indeed thought provoking.” Read More…


From July 10, 2011. Review of the Temple of Air, reviewer: Leah Tallon. 

“Here’s a little secret: I grew up in a small town very similar to the setting for Patricia Ann McNair’s debut collection of loosely linked stories, The Temple of Air. I know those sprawling fields, the quiet starry nights interrupted only by the occasional passing freight train, the speed at which juicy gossip travels, the type of connection you build with someone from being their neighbor your whole life. Small towns are a catch-all for every type of person and McNair shows the variety, no two alike, contrary to the stereotypes. She reaches down deep into the cores of her characters, pulls out their secrets, the things that make them human, and presents them to you in this book.” Read More…


From “Secrets on the Web and Between the Covers,” posted on Literary Chicago, July 14, 2011:

“From the secrets of writing to the secrets of everyday life, McNair seems to have a flair for pulling back veils and revealing what matters.”

To see the full post in which Alba Machado talks about this site’s series “View From the Keyboard” and my collection, follow this link:


Patricia Ann McNair interviewed on Stephanie Kuehnert‘s blog Life, Words, & Rock ‘n’ Roll for her series “Women Who Rock Wednesday.” Check it out here.


Philip Hartigan interviewed the author for his art blog Praeterita. Check it out here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: