Ivan the Terrible Goes on a Family Picnic Cover

Did the Russians invent baseball? Is there a connection between Babe Ruth’s cross-dressing and Gertrude Stein’s secret mission to New York? What does history tell us about what lies beyond heaven?

From the American heartland to Hiroshima, to Paris, to shopping malls and caves with prehistoric art, Ivan the Terrible Goes on a Family Picnic is a wild ride across generations and frontiers of the imagination.


“What Holdefer says about me is mostly true. You can ask Gertrude about the rest.”

—Babe Ruth

“я не могу перестать улыбаться.”

—Ivan the Terrible

“If I amuse myself with cleats on a summer’s day it is for myself and not for others’ amusement however amusing they might find my amusement.”

—Gertrude Stein

“No comment.”


Charles Holdefer grew up in Iowa and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Sorbonne. He currently teaches at the University of Poitiers, France.

His short fiction has appeared in many magazines, including the New England Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, North American Review, Los Angeles Review, Slice and Yellow Silk. His story “The Raptor” won a Pushcart Prize.

He also writes essays and reviews which have appeared in The Antioch Review, World Literature Today, New England Review, The Dactyl Review, The Collagist, l’Oeil du Spectateur, New York Journal of Books, Journal of the Short Story in English and elsewhere.

pub date: 2024-08-01
$18.00 | 172 pages
isbn: 978-1-963846-00-3 (paperback)
Cover design by Anne Marie Hantho