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Make Way for Her: And Other Stories

by Katie Cortese

Availablecloth$24.95 978-0-8131-7512-6
Availableweb pdf$24.95 978-0-8131-7513-3
Availableepub$24.95 978-0-8131-7514-0
The University Press of Kentucky New Poetry and Prose Series
200 pages  Pubdate: 03/09/2018  6 x 9  

A girl afflicted with pyrokinesis tries to control her fire-starting long enough to go to a dance with a boy she likes. A woman trapped in a stalled marriage is excited by an alluring ex-con who enrolls in her YMCA cooking class. A teen accompanies her mother, a prestigious poet, to a writing conference where she navigates a misguided attraction to a married writer—who is, in turn, attracted to her mother—leaving her “inventing punishments for writers who believe in clichés as tired as broken hearts.”

In this affecting collection, Katie Cortese explores the many faces of love and desire. Featuring female narrators that range in age from five to forty, the narratives in Make Way for Her speak to the many challenges and often bittersweet rewards of offering, receiving, and returning love as imperfect human beings. The stories are united by the theme of desperate love, whether it’s a daughter’s love for a parent, a sister’s for a sibling, or a romantic love that is sometimes returned and sometimes unrequited.

Cortese’s complex and multilayered stories play with the reader’s own desires and anticipations as her characters stubbornly resist the expected. The intrepid girls and women in this book are, above all, explorers. They drive classic cars from Maine to Phoenix, board airplanes for the first time, and hike dense forests in search of adventure; but what they often find is that the most treacherous landscapes lie within. As a result, Make Way for Her explores a world of women who crave knowledge and experience, not simply sex or love.

Katie Cortese is the author of Girl Power and Other Short-Short Stories. Her stories and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in such journals as Blackbird, Gulf Coast, Wigleaf, and the Baltimore Review. The former editor-in-chief of the Southeast Review, she now serves as the fiction editor for Iron Horse Literary Review and teaches in the creative writing program at Texas Tech University.

A welcome addition to the burgeoning canon of finely wrought female stories. -- Kirkus Reviews

Katie Cortese’s Make Way for Her and Other Stories offers enticing glimpses of curiously compact, womencentric fictional universes, generally focused on girls, teenagers, women, and the men who affect—but not necessarily impact—their lives. Cortese’s writing is smoothly compelling and adapts from voice to voice. -- Foreword Reviews

Heartening, and unusually thoughtful, this collection of stories places the young women, their feelings and minds (not just their bodies) at the center. In that way, it seems more true to what adolescence in young women can be: full of mistaken attachments, questioning actions, and, sometimes, provocative men who may be a wrong choice, may appear to represent freedom that, in fact, will be due to the young woman’s own agency and growth. -- Crystal Wilkinson, recipient of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for The Birds of Opulence

What distinguishes this collection from others of its kind are stories that are engrossing, visceral, and strange enough to be singular. -- Leslie Singleton, University of Illinois

Some of the many foolhardy, vulnerable and brave ways innocence insists upon bittersweet experience are superbly portrayed in Katie Cortese’s Make Way For Her and Other Stories. With sensuous prose, achingly authentic characters and precise narrative skill, Cortese enthralls and stuns, page after page, story upon story. A magnificent, heartbreaking collection. -- Melissa Pritchard, author of A Solmen Pleasure and Palmerino

This collection is not about understanding our young people. It's about living and breathing inside their bodies and heads. Salinger can step aside now. Make way for Katie Cortese! -- Dennis Covington, author of Salvation on Sand Mountain