K. L. Cook's debut collection of linked stories spans three generations in the life of one West Texas family. Events both tender and tragic lead to a strange and lovely vision of a world stitched together in tenuous ways as the characters struggle to make sense of their lives amid the shifting boundaries of marriage, family, class, and culture. A series of unusual incidents-a daughter's elopement, a sobering holiday trip, a vicious attack by the family dog, a lightning strike-provokes a mother of five to abandon her children. An oil rigger, inspired by sun-induced hallucinations, rescues his estranged wife, who doesn't appreciate his chivalry. In the wake of his father's and brother's deaths, a teenage boy finds a precarious solace working with his mother at a country-western bar. A cosmetics salesman schemes to buy Costa Rica and flirts dangerously with mobsters in Las Vegas. A woman fleeing her fourth marriage arrives at a complicated understanding of love and responsibility. Railroad worker and conman, grieving son and battered wife-these characters explore the limits of family fragility and resilience. Their stories-suggesting unlikely connections between comedy and pathos, cruelty and generosity-promise a hard-won dignity and hope. K. L. Cook's award-winning stories have appeared in numerous literary journals and magazines, including American Short Fiction, Threepenny Review, and Harvard Review. Cook teaches creative writing and literature at Prescott College in Arizona.
K. L. Cook is the author of two other award-winning books of fiction, The Girl from Charnelle and Love Songs for the Quarantined. He teaches creative writing and literature at Prescott College and teaches in the MFA Writing Program at Spalding University.
"The stories in Last Call are about fractured families, lovers and losers (often one and the same), and coming of age the hard way. Cook writes with ease and naturalness and a wonderful, sorrowful knowledge of human foibles."--Jean Thompson, author of Who Do You Love and City Boy --Jean Thompson "The stories in Last Call are so entertaining it seems almost unfair that they also resonate powerfully long after you've put down the book. K. L. Cook has whopping gifts, and this is a splendid book."--Robert Boswell, author of Century's Son --Robert Boswell "K. L. Cook starts with the pungent inventory of country western songs but lights it all, even his honky-tonks, fried food, downed trees, sick dogs, and rain, with a new understanding of men and women. These are rich stories by an exciting new voice."--Ron Carlson, author of A Kind of Flying--Ron Carlson