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Scholars of myth and lore, and readers prepared to be swept away on someone else’s trip (perhaps of the hallucinogenic variety), will be enthralled.
— Publishers Weekly

And the telling begins …

When a fisherman receives a mysterious letter about his beloved’s demise, he sets off in his skiff to find her. A whale swallows him, then deposits him on the Isle of the Dead, which is ruled by a trio of giant bird gods. The fisherman must negotiate with the self-proclaimed leader—a narcissistic, bullying crow—to return his beloved to physical form. In The Alehouse at the End of the World, an epic comedy set in the sixteenth century, bawdy Shakespearian love triangles play out with shapeshifting avian demigods and a fertility goddess, drunken revelry, and bio-dynamic gardening. A raucous, aw-aw-aw-awe-inspiring romp, Stevan Allred’s second book is a juicy fable for adults and a hopeful tale for our troubled times.



Staff Pick, Powell’s City of Books and Phinney Books

“This island of the dead is more active than a lot of retirement communities. Richly conceived, enjoyable, and a treat for readers of myths and legends.”

Kirkus Reviews

“This is a tough one to describe, because as soon as I start I’m afraid I’ll scare some of you off. Avian demigods? Fertility goddesses? An epic journey to the Isle of the Dead to recover a lost love? Sure, fantasy fans will hear me out, but the rest of you should, too. Drawing on European, Asian, and North American folk traditions, Stevan Allred plows the oldest narrative field there is, the open commons that existed before anyone thought of subdividing it with genre fences. Pure story, in other words, once-upon-a-time stuff that doesn’t seem fringy at all. Turns out that a modern version of ancient myth involving love, death, and talking birds is exactly what we need in these trying times.”

—James Crossley, bookseller at Phinney Books

“The talented and erudite Stevan Allred is a natural storyteller, weaving together in The Alehouse at the End of the World various threads of Eastern and Western myth, fable, and legend, into an inviting, raucous romp through the lands of the Dead, where a lonely fisherman, accompanied by an entertaining cast of Avian co-conspirators, wanders in search of his long-lost beloved. You will frequently gasp, occasionally wring your hands, and always delight at Mr. Allred’s sharp ear for dialogue, unerring instinct for suspense, and magisterial command of the fanciful world that may await us all in our next life.”

—Michael Shou-Yung Shum, author of Queen of Spades

“Stevan Allred, armed with an abiding love of narrative, and an arsenal of sentence-by-sentence wit and tumble, draws us into an epic battle for the soul of the afterworld, and we are led ever on by language dangerously funny. The creatures that illuminate this journey with their eternal ponderings and arguments, are not necessarily human except in their search for reason and love, driven as they are by power, sex, and the beautiful mystery of death.”

—Joanna Rose, author of Little Miss Strange

“Alehouse echoes ancient myths of creation and undoings in the practice of love with a blend of Shakespearean comedy and Melvillian language on a classic odyssey to the end of the world and beyond. Trust me, people. This is the wildly inventive and lovingly hilarious work of a master craftsman.”

—Robin Cody, author of Ricochet River

“The Alehouse at the End of the World will take you on a fast-moving ride through sixteenth century farce with a present tense echo effect. Bard-like in its constellation of bird-gods and rough hewn characters tossed around like breadcrumbs, the epic voyage catches you between laughter and a tear forming at the edge of your eye. Like life does.”

—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan

“The Alehouse at the End of the World will swallow you whole. You’ll land on the Isle of the Dead and walk with the fisherman who longs for his beloved. The Crow will eschew you with his solipsistic drama, and the Goddess will seduce you as part of her plan. Stevan Allred’s luscious language drives the novel, and his playful remix of lyrics and religious systems satisfies deep questions about the afterlife and the soul, which he describes as “a vibration so quiet it can scarcely be heard… the thing that gives self-awareness.” Reading this novel delights like a fine ale.”

—Kate Gray, author of Carry the Sky

“Crows and fishermen, gods and goddesses, love and deceit, boats full of the dead, clams that are much more than clams, an island inside the belly of the beast, and batches and batches of ale. The Alehouse at the End of the World is a comic epic that made me feel like us messy mortals can actually make a difference.”

—Yuvi Zalkow, author of A Brilliant Novel in the Works

“Allred’s imagination staggers the imagination.”

—Jan Baross, author of José Builds a Woman

“The Alehouse at the End of the World mines our primal desire to go through the looking glass or the back of the wardrobe. Stevan Allred is an ingenius guide. His Isle of the Dead is a dark place that crackles with life, full of shapeshifting, bed-switching heros fighting for the fate of the living world. An epic tale from a master storyteller.”

—Scott Sparling, author of Wire to Wire

“Stevan Allred has spun an original myth with its own vocabulary and weather system. The imagery alone has impressed new memories upon my psyche. Peculiar and inventive yet true to the human condition, The Alehouse at the End of the World holds familiar tyrants and temptations, confronted in the most unexpected ways by an unforgettable cast. The experience I found in these pages is the reason I read—to reach inconceivable places, to be touched, to be changed. By canoe, winged goddess, or whale, I would follow Allred anywhere.

—Renee Macalino Rutledge, author of The Hour of Daydreams

“There’s all manner of craziness in The Alehouse at the End of the World: a giant beast who’s swallowed the spirit world, a hairless blue fisherman, a trio of shape-shifting god-birds, a self-aggrandizing (Trumpian?) crow, The Isle of the Dead, a feathered goddess, and a dead woman who’s…. well, you’ll see. Yet underneath these fantastical guises, lies the same hearts that can be found in all of us; some are kind, some are driven, some are evil, some are insatiable, and in spite of their non-human forms, they are all so very human. In this magical world, the net of a dark fate tightens around the existence of this motley crew, and an apocalypse brews on the horizon.”

—Dianah Hughley, bookseller, Powell’s City of Books

“A book rich in love and life and death and language and magic. You wonder where a tale of a crow and a blue-skinned fisherman could lead, and it turns out to be a wild journey of masterly storytelling, sneaky humor, bracing sensuality, and deliciously tricksy words.”

—Shawn Levy, author of Dolce Vita Confidential and Paul Newman: A Life


Alehouse Shenanigans: A Gallery