Self Defense

Product Details
$21.95  $20.41
Cornerstone Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.5 X 0.34 inches | 0.43 pounds

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About the Author
Corey Mertes grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. His short stories have appeared in many journals and have been shortlisted for the Tartts Fiction Award, the American Fiction Short Story Award, and the Hudson Prize. This is his first collection.

"In Self-Defense, Corey Mertes writes stories so sure of themselves, so representative of the vastness in each seemingly ordinary life, that one wonders if these tales always existed and he simply conjured them. There's no artifice to be found here. Mertes is the real deal, not so much

writing stories as he is bringing them out of hiding as though by séance." -Jeff Vande Zande author of Rules of Order

"With striking prose and exactitude, Corey Mertes's Self-Defense follows a collection of strange, sad, but wholly unique characters through twelve unforgettable stories, all seeking a version of self-defense against their own demons and disappointments. A gritty but emotionally sensitive clutch of tales." -Kali White, author of The Monsters We Make

"In this collection, Corey Mertes takes readers on an unsentimental journey into casinos, ballroom dance studios, Los Angeles dives, and flood plains-places where hard-luck characters are always on the con, their lives a whirling vortex of bad luck and bad love. Mertes balances their grim situations with humor and a touch of empathy. While the stories rarely end well, a resilient spirit emerges. The stories themselves are as addictive as the throw of the dice or turn of the cards that Mertes' gambling addicts can't resist. This is superb writing-fresh, unsparing but never

disdainful, and steeped in first-hand knowledge of the subject. Bravo." - Pat MacEnulty, The Language of Sharks and Time to Say Goodbye

"In clubs and casinos-in overgrown backyards, ballroom-dance studios, and down-and-out motels-the characters in Corey Mertes's debut collection desperately try to defend themselves against the lure of drugs and booze and the scourges of illness and infidelity. Self-Defense may be full of failed dreams, but it is charged with memorable characters, whip-smart dialogue, and bleak landscapes rendered beautiful by the author's lyrical prose." -Rita Ciresi, author of Pink Slip and Sometimes I Dream in Italian

"Mertes' stories pull no punches. The characters in Self-Defense have spent years instigating their own battles and blocking their own shots. In clear, uncompromising language, Mertes places his characters' cards face up on the table and refuses to deal them new ones. These stories crackle with unfulfilled longing." -Julie Babcock, author of Rules for Rearrangement

"Self-Defense is more than a collection of short stories. It is a captivating peek into the heart, joy, and sadness of a brilliant storyteller. Each story is masterfully written on several levels. Mertes will make you smile, touch your heart, and cause you to reflect on your mortality. I read the collection in one sitting and, two days later, reread it. Self-Defense will be a book you recommend to your friends, but keep it handy, for you will return to its extraordinary stories often. Five stars, hands down. Bravo." -Nick Chiarkas, author of Weepers and Nunzio's Way

"Self-Defense is so hardboiled that Raymond Chandler would chip a tooth on it. Time and again, in casinos, on oil rigs, dance floors, and film sets, men and women who are down on their luck roll the dice and take their chances." -Scott Dominic Carpenter, author of This Jealous Earth and French Like Moi