Massachusetts – Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (1911)
This tragic tale, told through a foreboding frame narrative, is uncharacteristic of much of Edith Wharton’s most famous work, but is nonetheless one of her most powerful novels. It is set in the fictional town of Starkfield, Massachusetts, which was likely based at least in part on Lenox, Massachusetts, where she was living at the time.
Michigan – The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (1993)
Jeffrey Eugenides quickly became one of the most popular literary novelists in America after the release of The Virgin Suicides, his debut novel which revolves around the lives of five sisters in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.
Minnesota – Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor (1985)
Garrison Keillor’s love letter to small town heartland America has gone on to become a classic. The fictional town of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota originated in Keillor’s popular radio show A Prairie Home Companion, and has spawned numerous novels, of which Lake Wobegon Days is the first.
Mississippi – The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (1929)
Faulkner set many of his novels in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, including The Sound and Fury, which is not only considered one of his best, but also one of the greatest American novels ever written.
Missouri – Stoner by John Williams (1965)
This beautiful novel charts the entire lifetime of its title character William Stoner, and his rise from Missouri farm boy to university professor and esteemed academic. Despite this dramatic rise, Stoner’s life remains one tinged with sadness and uncertainty.