The twenty-seven stories in Leesa Cross-Smith’s debut short story collection Every Kiss a War are set to the sounds of “frogs and crickets out back, steam-pulsing like a machine” and “a sad country song that hasn’t been written yet.” Men and women love and leave over cigarettes and shots of kitchen table whiskey. She takes us down Kentucky roads in the back of a pickup truck to both truculent and delicate women and rough, rambling men edged with gentleness.
A finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award and the Iowa Short Fiction Award, this collection is a ravishing war of characters laid bare as they look for the glow and fight to stay in the light. As affecting as they are sexy and romantic, these stories burn with sweetness like firecrackers and honey as you throw them back and holler for another round.
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