In his fourth book of fiction, award-winning novelist and short story writer K. L. Cook explores marriage—not only to people, but to places and vocations—and how our lives are shaped by both the ideal and reality of lifelong commitments. A bride and groom discover secrets during their Las Vegas honeymoon and, years later, grapple with emotional and moral fissures in their relationship. A bankrupt academic flees to the Florida coast with his family and finds provisional hope in a big fish story. A fifteen-year-old boy sees Shakespeare’s plays in the Colorado mountains, an experience that marries him for life to the theatre. A college dean and his attorney wife face unexpected changes that force them to re-envision their understanding of home. With insight, empathy, and humor, this collection of stories examines who and what we wed and what it means to be the marrying kind.
"The collection ends with a definitive bang, and demonstrates how, in an excellently crafted story collection, the whole is always more than the sum of its parts. Cook’s Marrying Kind delivers just as much complexity and nuance as any novel, while providing readers with nine standout stories to savor."
~The Porterhouse Review
"K.L. Cook’s Marrying Kind is a short story collection concerned with masks—what mask do we wear to veil our true selves from the world? And, importantly, how might life’s endless rehearsals lead us closer to our understanding of ourselves? In nine expertly crafted stories, we witness a range of characters that are either literally engaged in the theater world, or figuratively preparing themselves for life’s stage."
~Puerto del Sol
"Ultimately, through his stories, Cook reveals what is universal about the human experience: the intellectual passions, the shape-shifting nature of families and couples, the hope-filled prospects of a future just beyond the horizon. As one of Cook's characters puts it, 'I want to move in the world like we own it.' Marrying Kind is an elegant portrayal of that yearning, one that leaves the reader filled with empathy and self-reflection, the great feat of all worthwhile fiction."
Praise for Marrying Kind
“I couldn’t stop thinking as I read: these are exactly the sort of stories I love. They do what enthralls me most in fiction—decisions play out over lifetimes and keep tricking the deciders. In their own ways, these stories are eye-popping.”
~Joan Silber, PEN/Hemingway, PEN/Faulkner, PEN/Malamud, and National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of Improvement, Ideas of Heaven, and Fools
“The course of true love never did run smooth, as the Bard instructs us. In this terrific collection, K. L. Cook offers us a fresh look at commitment and its discontents. You don’t have to be married to dig these stories. You just have to know the risk that comes with loving someone, or something, deeply.”
~Steve Almond, author of Bad Stories, God Bless America, The Evil B. B. Chow, and the bestselling Candyfreak
“Spanning America from east to west, as well as decades, the stories in Marrying Kind are rich with vivid characters who breathe on the page. Every story has moments of brilliance that will break your heart. When you finish, you’ll be moved to start over again.”
~Joseph M. Schuster, author of The Might Have Been
“Marrying Kind is a wise, assured collection of stories that has the depth and complexity of a novel. With a sure hand and incredible empathy, K. L. Cook shows us how sometimes love darkens and sometimes it perseveres, but it’s always surprising and ever-changing.”
~Benjamin Percy, author of the bestselling and award-winning Suicide Woods, The Dark Net, Red Moon, and The Dead Lands