Southeast Missouri State University Press

Southeast Missouri State University

The Patron Saint of Lost Girls

Maureen Aitken

Winner of the Nilsen Prize
Publication: October 8, 2018
Pages: 160

It’s the Midwest in the 1970-80s, and Mary is growing up in Detroit, where the recession hits hard, and jobs are scarce. In a set of linked stories, Mary tries to conjure the spirits of protection to confront economic struggle, violence, addiction, and death. Mary moves to cities across the Midwest looking for work, all the while learning the healing power of dignity from the true patrons: her community of friends and family who teach her to love better, live fuller, and question power. An ode to the creative spirit’s ability to transcend hardship, The Patron Saint of Lost Girls paints an unflinching portrait of women’s resilience in the face of injustice.

“Maureen Aitken has a keen eye for piercing detail and the stamina to render relationships in all their messiness, in all their glorious complication. These fourteen beautifully crafted stories of art, lust, love and family vacations will delight your ear and open your heart.” –Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted.

“This is a magical book of stories weaving webs of surprise and wonder that bind your very flesh and bones, and like all strong magic, they can turn so dark you’re afraid of your own breathing until Aitken leads you back into the familiar light. The Patron Saint of Lost Girls is a real find—a book you’ll carry with you to read and reread because Maureen Aitken is an original! –Jonis Agee, author of The Bones of Paradise

Trade Paper, $18.00
ISBN: 978-0-0079262-7-9

Available now