Bad Kansas

Stories

Title Details

Pages: 176

Formats

Paperback

Pub Date: 09/15/2017

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5128-5

List Price: $24.95

eBook

Pub Date: 09/15/2017

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5129-2

List Price: $24.95

Bad Kansas

Stories

A collection of stories based on the lives of tenacious and original characters

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  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Awards
The eleven beautifully crafted stories in Bad Kansas reveal the complicated underbelly of the country's most flown-over state and the quirky characters that call it home. In this darkly humorous collection, Kansas becomes a state of mind as Mandelbaum's characters struggle to define their relationship to home and what it means to stay or leave, to hold on or let go. When a desperate woman finds herself on a date with a rugged man she has nothing in common with, she must decide whether to sacrifice the life of a bear in order to keep the man's affection. After having a nightmare about a mallard, a young man wakes to discover he's choking the woman he loves. When his mother starts dating a slimy pizza parlor owner, a young boy must choose whether to align with his mischievous older brother or remain loyal to his mom. The deeply appealing and peculiar characters in Bad Kansas are determined to get what they want, be it love or sex or power, in a world intent on denying them.
With heart and precision, and a fresh and resilient humor, Bad Kansas reveals the lives people are living in that flyover state in a collection in which every sentence is a made thing, never merely a vehicle for conveying information to the reader. Mandelbaum's sharp eye for detail, a deep emotional intelligence, and a slightly canted-yet ultimately compassionate-worldview combine to produce complex, authentic, empathic characters, reminiscent of two of the greatest place-based collections ever: Richard Ford's Rock Springs and Annie Proulx's Close Range.

—Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted

A splendid debut-smart, funny, refreshing. I read it with delight.

—Lynn Freed, author of The Last Laugh and The Romance of Elsewhere

Winner

Kansas Notable Book, Kansas State Library

Winner

Best First Book, High Plains Book Awards

About the Author/Editor

BECKY MANDELBAUM is the author of Bad Kansas, winner of the 2016 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction and the 2018 High Plains Book Award for First Book. Her work has appeared in the Missouri Review, the Georgia Review, the Rumpus, Necessary Fiction, Hobart, Electric Literature, McSweeney's Internet Tendency and has been featured on Medium. Originally from Kansas, she currently lives in Washington's Skagit Valley and teaches at Seattle's Hugo House.