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Critical Praise

"Marc Fitten’s excellent new novel has much to recommend it --- wisdom, warmth, humor --- but it is his creation of the title character herself that is his and the novel’s most remarkable achievement. Valeria is every bit as sensual and irrepressible as Chaucer’s Wife of Bath, and she will linger in any reader’s mind long after the last page is turned."

—Ron Rash, author of Serena

"Valeria is aging and, by all accounts, not gracefully. Having left middle-age behind and any hopes (if she ever had such hopes) at ending her spinsterhood, she is feared for her vicious tongue and abrupt ways. But Valeria, it turns out, is a woman who inspires. I loved her from her first maniacal rant against anyone so fey and foolish as to openly whistle in public. Valeria counters the incursions of modern day capitalism with daily doses of vitriol and invective, shaming her neighbors for their laziness and lack of pride. But at 68, Valeria finds her softer side and, because of her, two men are inspired to try to make more of their lives. Valeria’s Last Stand reads like a medieval tale set in modern times or perhaps a tongue-in-cheek soap opera set in a village that time has passed by. If I have any complaint it is that the author spends too much time on the machinations and intentions of the floozy tavern owner, Ibolya, and the wandering chimney sweep who sets out to woo Valeria. What I wanted was more of Valeria’s internal musings and to discover the source of Valeria’s diffident charm."

—Laura Hansen, Bookin’ It

"A thoughtful, skillfully drawn portrait of one woman, one village, and one country."

—Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante’s Handbook