In his debut collection, Michael Croley takes us from the Appalachian regions of rural Kentucky and Ohio to a village in South Korea in thirteen stories in which characters find themselves, wherever they are, in states of displacement. In these settings, Croley guides his characters to some semblance of home, where they circle each other's pain, struggle to find belonging, and make sense of the mistakes and bad breaks that have brought them there.
The stories in Any Other Place are understated and beautiful, and successfully conjure the unease of ordinary people unable to shake the feeling that something in their lives isn't quite right ... While [Croley's] stories find regular people in desperate situations, he never overplays his hand — nothing in the book seems forced; he gives his characters ample room to react to their circumstances. Croley writes with a stubborn realism that never comes close to veering into the showy or overwrought ... It's a beautiful collection and a remarkable debut effort from an author with a rare and compassionate understanding of the human condition.
Michael Croley’s short story collection Any Other Place finds people in the circumstances they’d do anything to avoid and traces the ties of love, loyalty, and sacrifice that bind them. Croley masters this contradictory tension, turning the phrase 'any other place' into one that’s equal parts pride and plea, each informed by a deep intimacy. Croley’s stories are thrilling in the oldest sense of the word. They pierce, boring a hole straight into Fordyce’s singular, multitudinous heart.