Books

The Potential of Radio and Rain is Available for Pre-Order!

The Potential of Radio and Rain: Stories of the Shortgrass Prairie is the winner of the 2022 CutBank Books chapbook competition. The book’s 23 flash stories explore generations of life and love in a harsh, water-scarce landscape. The book will be released in February, 2023.

Praise for The Potential of Radio and Rain

In The Potential of Radio and Rain, Myna Chang plants her writerly flag in the wide-open spaces of Midwest prairie and claims the land and its inhabitants as her literary territory. Here you’ll find sweet-talking hucksters looking to make a fast buck off the drought, husbands who stay or stray, and the steel-spined women intent on survival. These are vividly realized, beautifully nuanced stories, so sensory that I swear I could taste the dust scuffed up by a passing car, feel the sweet ache of cold well water in my throat. I can’t remember when I’ve been this excited by a chapbook, can’t remember the last time I came to the end only to turn back to the beginning to savor these stories all over again. Maybe it’s true, as Chang writes, that “Sometimes, a tornado is just what a town needs.” Sarah Freligh, author of Sad Math

Myna Chang is an unparalleled storyteller. The Potential of Radio and Rain, her startling debut collection, is an immersive journey into the beating heart of America—a landscape defined by rhythms of unforgiving wind and drought met by the unrelenting hope and determined grit of a people unwilling to give up or give in. In these lessons of fragility and survival—from hometown heroes to sacred pickup trucks—deliverance comes in the form of rain and revenge, music and the open road; chickens and children alike are filled with dust, crops fail, and migrants dream of outer space. Each sentence surprises with richly textured descriptions and poetic language that eviscerates. With an eye always turned toward the horizon, the yearning in Chang’s stories resonates like a thunderclap. — Sara Hills, author of The Evolution of Birds

Reading The Potential of Radio and Rain by Myna Chang is a season of fire and ice, of next-door neighbors and estranged family members shouting their secrets into the wind. Chang writes sentences with heart and clarity, intriguing with a sense of gossip. Each story creates a heart-rending morsel best eaten a few at a time, savoring the taste of spice and dust gripping the back of your throat. Each story crackles with velocity, a dash of caffeine, keeping us awake to witness the graceful way Chang puts us into the action, making us care about these wayward people. You won’t be able to look away, and why would you? These stories are insidious in the best ways! — Tommy Dean, author of Hollows

Myna Chang’s debut collection is filled with mercurial lightning bugs and lightning words, drawing maps across a prairie backdrop of twenty-three stories. Chang tilts the familiar into poetry-in-prose-in-motion: Earth-sweet scent, a double-dare girl, Daddy’s Caddy, trembling thunder years, swirling grit, a teasing sky and aching ground. She introduces jewels of people and places caught between literal and figurative tornadoes. There is humor here too in stories of Windfall Roofing and Two Dudes Enchilada Hut. In Chang’s words, “a tornado is just what a town needs.” The Potential of Radio and Rain is just what readers need. — Amy Barnes, author of Mother Figures, Ambrotypes, and Child Craft 

From the CutBank Books Judges

“I’m obsessed with this collection. Haunting, vivid, lyrical (a word I generally hate when describing but it works here), choked with dust and burnout and longing like its protagonists.”

“The voice in this prose piece just flies off the page. I feel immersed in a world when I read it.”

“The tension of these stories builds and builds. I couldn’t stop reading.”