About Friendswood

An NPR "Great Read" of 2014

Shortlisted for the St. Francis Literary Prize

“To a brilliant degree the novel amounts to an anatomy of conscience, a forensic examination of rationalization and the springs of integrity, and all the while it is a fully inhabited tale of one little town.”  Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Steinke’s sensitive exploration of tangled human connections reminds us that love and friendship will go a long way toward seeing us through our trials.” Los Angeles Times Book Review

“A powerful new novel…This is a place you live in as you read, drinking in ‘a faultless darkness’ beyond the streetlights…”  O: The Oprah Magazine

"Questions of moral responsibility abound in René Steinke's third novel, Friendswood, which asks, through the perspectives of four major characters, what we owe one another after a disaster, or indeed in everyday life. How are we responsible to ourselves, to acquaintances, to perfect strangers, to our communities, even to the earth?" The New York Times Book Review

With exceptional perception and deft artistry, Steinke (Holy Skirts, 2005) traces a matrix of poisonous acts in this magnetizing and sensitive tale of hidden dangers, the tyranny of the status quo, trust betrayed, crimes personal and planetary, and individuals transformed.”— Donna Seaman, Booklist

A “spectacular new novel by Rene Steinke…unforgettable…Like a painter, Steinke draws stunning scenes of small town Texas life…Friendswood is ultimately a story about hope and American character from a novelist who has delivered one of the best books of the summer.” Patrik Henry Bass of Essence magazine on NY1: The Book Reader

Rene Steinke’s interview on Friendswood with Linda Wertheimer, NPR’s WeekendEdition

Friendswood is a rare blend of beautiful, suspenseful, and seemingly artless prose…but also of optimism: hope minus any form of proselytization. Like the country singers who are quietly woven through the narrative, shrugging off suffering through song, Friendswood offers an unassuming remedy for the troubles we humans always seem to find ourselves in…And it’s also one hell of a read.” Jessie Aufiery, The Literary Review

Cosmopolitan,Book pick for September

a “poignant, redemptive tale…” Us Magazine

“Steinke, a National Book Award finalist…has turned her hometown into the setting of her third novel, which explores what happens when a tightly knit community is unraveled by a toxic leak and a high school sexual assault. The daughter of a Lutheran minister, Steinke isn’t afraid to throw some old-time religion into the mix.”Texas Monthly Checklist, Friendswood

“Long after you finish the book, you’ll still wonder how the people in are doing.“ Redbook, Book Pick for August

Woman’s Day, Book Pick for August

"A sharp, observant novel about the hard realities of challenging the status quo." Kirkus