Craig Nagel


For the past thirty years readers of the Lake Country Echo in north-central Minnesota have enjoyed the bi-weekly column by Craig Nagel called “The Cracker Barrel.”

His essays have been photocopied and sent to friends, cut out and taped to the wall or stuck on the refrigerator door, read aloud at various meetings, reprinted in area newsletters and, on occasion, praised or damned in letters to the editor.


Fred’s Way is a coming-of-age novel about a young man torn between going off to college to become an ordained Lutheran pastor or staying home in Chicago to marry his high school sweetheart. It resonates with the agony of someone trying desperately—and often comically—to find his role in a society that refuses to fit his innocent expectations.

The central character, Fred Hansen, is at root a mystic, alive to the wonder and glory of life. Like a latter-day Don Quixote, he’s never quite in synch with what others call reality…

Fred’s Way
by Craig Nagel


A Pretty Good Life

A Pretty Good Life

At a recent family get-together, talk turned to memories of Dad. As usual, the memories proved refreshing, and made us measure our own lives against the long arc of his. Pops made it to the age of 91 and died in the spring of 2002. Had he lived until August of that...

Unbroken Circle

Unbroken Circle

For the past couple of months my wife and I were in Florida, soaking up sunshine and orange juice and good cheer. We walked a mile or two each day, swam around in the pool every afternoon, and worked at trying to learn the names of various trees and flowers and birds....

Ernie’s Place

Ernie’s Place

One of the joys of being a writer is to visit places that link you to the work of other scribblers. Over the years I've met and conversed with several well-known Midwestern writers, and toured the homes of a few who are no longer with us. But for me the twin high...

Craig’s Books

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