How to Make an American Quilt

“Fascinating…An intelligent, brief and highly original novel…These are beautiful individual stories, stitched into a profoundly moving whole…A spectrum of women’s experience in the twentieth century.” The Los Angeles Times


How To Make An American Quilt is the story of eight women living in the small mythical California town of Grasse who meet once a week to quilt. It is through quilting, an American art form, that they express themselves either artistically or narratively, as they stitch together a wedding quilt for the granddaughter of one of the members. The novel, which is structured like a literary quilt, explores the need to belong and to be apart, and the tension between these two desires.

Select Reviews

“Remarkable...It is a tribute to an art form that allowed women self-expression even when society did not.” The New York Times
“Intensely thoughtful and ambitious. How To Make an American Quilt displays such an honest, intelligent belief in each character…the reader never feels shortchanged.” The San Francisco Chronicle
“Remarkable...Imaginative in concept and execution.” Publisher’s Weekly
“A triumph…Otto has tremendous insight and compassion…her prose is as careful and precise as needlework.” Booklist