The eleven beautifully crafted stories in Bad Kansas reveal the complicated underbelly of the country's most flown-over state and the quirky characters that call it home. In this darkly humorous collection, Kansas becomes a state of mind as Mandelbaum's characters struggle to define their relationship to home and what it means to stay or leave, to hold on or let go. When a desperate woman finds herself on a date with a rugged man she has nothing in common with, she must decide whether to sacrifice the life of a bear in order to keep the man's affection. After having a nightmare about a mallard, a young man wakes to discover he's choking the woman he loves. When his mother starts dating a slimy pizza parlor owner, a young boy must choose whether to align with his mischievous older brother or remain loyal to his mom. The deeply appealing and peculiar characters in Bad Kansas are determined to get what they want, be it love or sex or power, in a world intent on denying them.
About the Author
BECKY MANDELBAUM is the author of Bad Kansas, winner of the 2016 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction and the 2018 High Plains Book Award for First Book. Her work has appeared in the Missouri Review, the Georgia Review, the Rumpus, Necessary Fiction, Hobart, Electric Literature, McSweeney's Internet Tendency and has been featured on Medium. Originally from Kansas, she currently lives in Washington's Skagit Valley and teaches at Seattle's Hugo House.