K. L. Cook | ISBN 9781948509114 | 302p | $21.95 | Short Stories
“The collection ends with a definitive bang, and demonstrates how, in an excellently crafted story collection, the whole is always more than the sum of its parts. Cook’s Marrying Kind delivers just as much complexity and nuance as any novel, while providing readers with nine standout stories to savor.” Read more in the latest Port House Review
In his fourth book of fiction, award winning novelist and short story writer K. L. Cook explores marriage—not only to people, but to places and vocations—and how our lives are shaped by both the ideal and reality of lifelong commitments. A bride and groom discover secrets during their Las Vegas honeymoon and, years later, grapple with emotional and moral fissures in their relationship. A bankrupt academic flees to the Florida coast with his family and finds provisional hope in a big fish story. A fifteen-year-old boy sees Shakespeare’s plays in the Colorado mountains, an experience that marries him for life to the theatre. A college dean and his attorney wife face unexpected changes that force them to re-envision their understanding of home. With insight, empathy, and humor, this collection of stories examines who and what we wed and what it means to be the marrying kind.
“I couldn’t stop thinking as I read: these are exactly the sort of stories I love. They do what enthralls me most in fiction—decisions play out over lifetimes and keep tricking the deciders. In their own ways, these stories are eye-popping.” —Joan Silber, author of Improvement, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award
“The course of true love never did run smooth, as the Bard instructs us. In this terrific collection, K. L. Cook offers us a fresh look at commitment and its discontents. You don’t have to be married to dig these stories. You just have to know the risk that comes with loving someone, or something, deeply.”
—Steve Almond, author of Candyfreak and Against Football
“Spanning America from east to west, as well as decades, the stories in Marrying Kind are rich with vivid characters who breathe on the page. Every story has moments of brilliance that will break your heart. When you finish, you’ll be moved to start over again.”
—Joseph M. Schuster, author of The Might Have Been
“Marrying Kind is a wise, assured collection of stories that has the depth and complexity of a novel. With a sure hand and incredible empathy, K. L. Cook shows us how sometimes love darkens and sometimes it perseveres, but it’s always surprising and ever-changing.”
—Benjamin Percy, author of Suicide Woods, The Dark Net, Red Moon, and The Dead Lands
K. L. Cook is the author of three books of fiction: Last Call, winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize; Love Songs for the Quarantined, winner of the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction; and The Girl from Charnelle, winner of the Willa Award for Contemporary Fiction and named a Southwest Book of the Year. Cook’s first collection of poems, Lost Soliloquies, and a collection of essays on fiction, The Art of Disobedience, are forthcoming. His work has appeared widely in anthologies, literary journals, and magazines, including Best American Mystery Stories, Best of the West, Glimmer Train, One Story, American Short Fiction, Threepenny Review, Writer’s Chronicle, and Poets & Writers. He teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Environment at Iowa State University and Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing Program. For more information, visit his author website at www.klcook.net.