Our Bookseller says:
“‘…but he didn’t know how to be special, how to glow. […] There was no big secret. You just had to let the things in your heart get real dark first.’
Deceptively simple, this collection of 42 (!!) stories braids discordant strands of female desire into a cohesive narrative, knots and snags woven into the fray.
There are blink-and-you-miss-it short stories interspersed with slow, pornographically long blinks of stories, each of them as playfully different in structure as they are in content. From first girlish blush to propulsive nymph, satiated housewife to dissatisfied sidepiece, a recipe for “girlheart cake” to the wrangling from an abusive boyfriend, Cross-Smith has a keen awareness of the duality of desire. Nothing, neither plot nor sentence, is quite as straightforward as it seems. This is desire as unapologetic emotional wreckage.” <3 Miranda
From Kentucky to the California desert, these forty-two short stories — ranging from the 80’s and 90’s to present day — 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.