Kiss Me Someone: Stories (Hardcover)
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A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
A Best Book of Fall at The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, BUST, and more
"Dark yet sensitive explorations of family and love—of all kinds—from a masterful writer. The women at the centers of these stories are sharp-edged and complicated and irresistible; you won’t be able to look away." —Celeste Ng
Bold and unapologetic, Karen Shepard’s Kiss Me Someone is inhabited by women who walk the line between various states: adolescence and adulthood, stability and uncertainty, selfishness and compassion. They navigate the obstacles that come with mixed-race identity and instabilities in social class, and they use their liminal positions to leverage power. They employ rage and tenderness and logic and sex, but for all of their rationality they're drawn to self-destructive behavior. Shepard’s stories explore what we do to lessen our burdens of sadness and isolation; her characters, fiercely true to themselves, are caught between their desire to move beyond their isolation and a fear that it’s exactly where they belong.
About the Author
Karen Shepard is a Chinese-American born and raised in New York City. She is the author of four novels, An Empire of Women, The Bad Boy’s Wife, Don’t I Know You?, and The Celestials. Her short fiction has been published in the Atlantic Monthly, Tin House, and Ploughshares, among others. Her nonfiction has appeared in More, Self, USA Today, and the Boston Globe, among others. She teaches writing and literature at Williams College in Williamstown, MA, where she lives with her husband, novelist Jim Shepard, and their three children.
Faithlessness among women runs through Kiss Me Someone less like a theme than a cactus spine. Injuries may be offhand, deliberate, even set up in childhood like bad genes waiting to switch on. In her hands, all are thrilling and nuanced. . . . This complexity puts Shepard on a shelf with writers like Margaret Atwood . . . and Elena Ferrante.
— The New York Times Book Review
In this captivating collection of stories, Karen Shepard turns her ever keen eye on women, and in her gaze is both love and a startling clarity. Readers of all kinds will find much to relish in this voice— from its storytelling surprises to the insights and sharp observations it extends, over and over, to us on the other side of the page.
— Aimee Bender
Dark yet sensitive explorations of family and love—of all kinds—from a masterful writer. The women at the centers of these stories are sharp-edged and complicated and irresistible; you won’t be able to look away.
— Celeste Ng
[Shepard] is unflinching in her depictions of
self-destructive choices and betrayal as well as friendship and love. One of
her characters uses the phrase "ecstatic friction" . . . that term could apply
to the whole no-holds-barred collection.
— Oprah Magazine
There is such a wondrous variety in these highly accomplished stories. They are rich with invention, with acute (sometimes alarming) awareness, dazzling insight, and pure, word virtuosity.
— Richard Ford
Shepard's writing is breathtaking in its ability to capture minor but
revelatory personal insights. With her crisp prose and sharp observations, she
views characters with devastating and unflinching clarity. . . . A
daringly written dissection of raw emotion through short stories about women on
the edge and what they long for most.
— Shelf Awareness
Shepard’s short stories explore relationships
and familial love in all their messy complexity. [Her] unapologetically flawed characters make this collection an honest portrayal of
— Ms. Magazine, "Great Reads for Feminists"
The stories in Karen Shepard's sharp collection Kiss Me Someone focus on the lives and relationships of women—who are often mixed-race—with their mothers, daughters, granddaughters, friends, and with men. Dark and often disturbing, Kiss Me Someone gazes unflinchingly at womanhood, isolation, betrayal, sexual assault, infidelity, and the depths of human cruelty.
Shepard is so perceptive, we feel as if we are part of the scene ourselves . . . These stories, and the characters that inhabit them, are so vivid, they will surely stay with readers for a good long while.
Shepard's work can disturb—but her sharp prose and insights into the human psyche make it worth the read.
A sharp and memorable collection.
— Publishers Weekly
excels in the rendering of dailiness, with lovely moments of linkage between
— Amy Hempel
Karen Shepard’s characters vibrate with desire and
disappointment, so obdurately individual that a whole world springs to life
— Andrea Barrett
Virginia Woolf have the snares and scars of familial relationships been
rendered with such brilliance, sensitivity, and icy understatement.
— Ron Hansen