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A lush, glittering short story collection exploring female obsession and desire by an award-winning author Roxane Gay calls "a consummate storyteller."
From Kentucky to the California desert, these forty-two short stories expose the hearts of girls and women in moments of obsessive desire and fantasy, wildness and bad behavior, brokenness and fearlessness, and more.
On a hot July night, teenage girls sneak out of the house to meet their boyfriends by the train tracks. Members of a cult form an unsettling chorus as they proclaim their adoration for the same man. A woman luxuriates in a fantasy getaway to escape her past. A love story begins over cabbages in a grocery store, and a laundress's life is consumed by her obsession with a baseball star. After the death of a sister, two high school friends kiss all night and binge-watch Winona Ryder movies.
Leesa Cross-Smith's sensuous stories -- some long, some gone in a flash, some told over text and emails -- drench readers in nostalgia for summer nights and sultry days. They recall the intense friendships of teenage girls and the innate bonds between mothers, the first heady rush of desire, and the pure exhilaration of womanhood, all while holding up the wild souls of women 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 writes the way many people wish they could: ferociously, tenderly,
and with a tremendous amount of heart. The stories contained in So We Can
Glow showcase the very best of Cross-Smith's voice. They stick with readers
long after the book is closed. This collection is tantalizing and Cross-Smith
is a delight."—Kristen Arnett, New York Times bestselling author of Mostly Dead Things
of So We Can Glow is that no matter who you are, no matter your circumstances,
no matter your gender identity, when reading this book you become the girls and
women in these pages. You hope their hopes, dream their dreams, fantasize and
love alongside them. Leesa Cross-Smith is some sort of sorceress."—Rion Amilcar Scott, PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize-winning author of Insurrections and The World Doesn't Require You
"I so admire these stirring, sexy, haunting
stories about the darkest corners of women's inner lives. A treat for the
soul and the senses, and funny too. Leesa Cross-Smith is a wonderful
storyteller."—Alexia Arthurs, award-winning author of How to Love a Jamaican
stories, brief but dense with emotion, will make you feel like you're falling
in love -- again and again and again. They drop the reader into moments that feel
soaked with longing, like strawberries in champagne. Through
Cross-Smith's characters, we experience the messiness, the ache, but mostly the
glory of female desire."—Amy Bonnaffons, author of The Regrets and The Wrong Heaven
"The stories...feature vivid sensory detail; the author has a gift
for describing smells in particular and using them to conjure emotion...the language is rich and the sentiment fresh...brilliant writing and insight."—Kirkus Reviews
"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)