Girl Power and Other Short-Short Stories

Girl Power Front Cover

About the Book:

A girl mercifully falls through the gym floor at a high school dance. A late-life baby devours her father and home before starting on her mother. A zoo employee bonds with a portrait-painting elephant named Sarai. Composed of forty-four stories fewer than 2,000 words apiece, the universally-female protagonists of Girl Power each navigate a portion of the labyrinthine trail from maidenhood through motherhood and into matronhood while negotiating the many complexities of being female in the contemporary era. Thirty-eight of the included stories were originally published in journals such as Word Riot, Monkeybicycle, The Citron Review, NANO Fiction, and elsewhere.

Praise:

“Reading Girl Power is like being kissed by a hammer. It’s affectionate and damaging, poetic and gut wrenching—rich with bittersweet insight and the harm and loss we inflict on one another and our own selves. There is a lot of love and hope and, oddly enough, humor in these pages, but there is even more hurt. These brief stories left me bruised and still I kept asking for another and another.” —Michael Garriga, author of The Book of Duels

Girl Power traces the lives of women from growing pains to achy joints, creating a collage of stories that speak to the challenges, heartbreaks, joys, fears, and wonders of the worlds we inhabit. Cortese weaves effortlessly between the real and mundane (backyard barbecues and neighborhood bars) to the fantastical (fairy tale lands and side show acts), and uses her mastery of the flash form to find the perfect detail that leaves her readers reeling, story after story after story.” —Tara Laskowski, author of Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and editor, SmokeLong Quarterly

Girl Power is a great read. These stories beat against the walls of reality, from girlhood to old age, with wit and fantasy, confronting both “the marvelous things we … dream of becoming” and loss (the girl at the prom swallowed by a black hole, from which “a breeze rose … cool and forgiving”). This is a writer you’ll want to see more of.” —Robert Shapard, author of Motel and Other Stories and editor of Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories from Around the World

“Writing flash fiction means catching lightning in a very small bottle, and holding it up for the reader to see. An entire collection of flash fiction demands a writer who can do this over and over again. Katie Cortese is one of the rare writers who can pull this off, and Girl Power is full of stories that leap wildly between playfulness and heartbreak, not just within a single page, but sometimes within a single sentence. This is a surprising, moving collection.” —Caitlin Horrocks, author of This Is Not Your City

“Katie Cortese’s Girl Power lives up to its title in every story and on every page, because in every sentence she writes you can sense her boundless empathy for and belief in the many girls and women who star in her stories. At first glance, it seems each of these women gets only a few short pages of our attention—but thanks to Cortese’s powerful writing it quickly becomes clearly that what they’ve each really been gifted is a life, full of humor and hope.” —Matt Bell, author of Scrapper

“Like the boys and men and babies that surround the girls in Girl Power, Katie Cortese’s compelling stories grab you, pin you down, bargain with you, even try to swallow you. And, like her hard-knocks, hard-nosed protagonistas, these stories inspire and empower. The girls of Girl Power lie and swear, they “watch the dollar bills mount,” they cook the fish they bought as pets, and they close their eyes and wait until it’s over. Meanwhile, the girls around them die in swimming pools, fall through holes in the earth at high school dances, get eaten by oranges, get taken, get lost, perdido, poof. And the men and the boys they know buy them drinks, shoot gym teachers, bruise the girls, and make love to them. The pregnant women ride roller coasters, lose their babies, or just give them up, before they are even born. These intense and piercing stories of maidens, mothers, and matrons facing life’s realities and surrealities reveal the myriad forms that girl power can take.” —Kelcey Ervick Parker, author of Liliane’s Balcony: A Novella of Fallingwater

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