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A lush, glittering short story collection exploring female obsession and desire by an award-winning writer Roxane Gay calls "a consummate storyteller."
From Kentucky to the California desert, these forty-two short stories expose the glossy and matte hearts of girls and women in moments of obsessive desire and fantasy, wildness and bad behavior, brokenness and fearlessness, and more.
Teenage girls sneak out on a summer night to meet their boyfriends by the train tracks. A woman escapes suffocating grief through a vivid fantasy life. Members of a cult form an unsettling chorus as they extol their passion for the same man. A love story begins over cabbages in a grocery store. A laundress' life is consumed by obsession for a famous baseball player. Two high school friends kiss all night and binge-watch Winona Ryder movies after the death of a sister.
Leesa Cross-Smith's sensuous stories will drench readers in nostalgia for summer nights and sultry days, the intense friendships of teenage girls, and the innate bonds felt between women. She evokes the pangs of loss and motherhood, the headiness and destructive potential of desire, and the pure exhilaration of being female. The stories in So We Can Glow--some long, some gone in a flash, some told over text and emails--take the wild hearts of girls and women and hold them up so they can catch the light.
About the Author
Leesa Cross-Smith is a homemaker and the author of Every Kiss A War and Whiskey & Ribbons. She lives in Kentucky with her husband and children.
"Leesa Cross-Smith is a consummate storyteller who uses her
formidable talents to tell the oft-overlooked stories of people living in that
great swath of place between the left and right coasts... Where she is most
stunning is in the endings...creating crisp, evocative moments that will linger
long after you've read this book's very last word."—Roxane Gay (praise for Every Kiss A War)
melodic debut . . . nuanced."—O, The Oprah Magazine, "Top Books of Summer" (praise for Whiskey & Ribbons)
"Cross-Smith's thrilling debut novel, Whiskey and Ribbons, is as immediate and compelling as music. Her three lovers tell their stories, each turning over what we think we know, creating a moving triptych on love, desire, and grief, and the unexpected families life makes for us."—Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night (praise for Whiskey & Ribbons)
"Beautiful and brutal, a gut-punch and a poem--I love this book. I love its characters, their complicated tangle of desire and grief. I love its craft, the back and forth dance between memory and possibility. I found myself talking aloud to Evangeline: Let go, I whispered. Or maybe she whispered it to me. I don't know. She's inside of me now, my head and my heart. I'll tell you what: Cross-Smith is a master."—Megan Stielstra, author of The Wrong Way to Save Your Life (praise for Whiskey & Ribbons)
"What a gorgeous, warm love story that is also a story about friendship and family and faith. I couldn't put this book down and was rooting so hard for Dalton and Evi and Frances and Cassidy and Eamon. This is a multi-layered, romantic, sexy, sad story. Just one hell of a satisfying read and though, in many ways, this story begins at the end, there are many wonderful, poignant surprises to be found in this novel."—Roxane Gay (praise for Whiskey & Ribbons)
"Leesa Cross-Smith's Whiskey & Ribbons is an unforgettable debut. The death of a police officer is at the heart of this powerful, moving polyphonic saga, and the stunning lyricism of the style only matches the heartbreaking poetry of its substance. Cross-Smith examines lovers, brothers, mothers, fathers and sons with such mammoth empathy that this is one of those books I find essential for making sense of our world today."—Porochista Khakpour, author of Sons and Other Flammable Objects (praise for Whiskey & Ribbons)
"Written with the emotional impact of Ayobami Adebayo's Stay with Me, this work will appeal to lovers of literary fiction."—Library Journal
"Whiskey & Ribbons is the kind of book you cancel everything to curl up with. Don't even try to put it down; you won't be able to. Leesa Cross-Smith writes with an open heart and a deft touch, crafting a beautiful meditation on marriage, family, and the hope within loss. I fell in love with these characters. I joined them in their heartbreak, their lust, their yearning, and I missed them after the last page."—Lindsay Hunter, author of Eat Only When You're Hungry (praise for Whiskey & Ribbons)