Get a Grip
Winner of the 2014 George Garrett Fiction Prize
Winner of National Indie Excellence Award for Best Short Story
Winner of 2016 International Book Award for Fiction: Short Story
Winner of 2016 Best Books Awards for Fiction: Short Story
Named one of the Best Books of 2015 by Baltimore Magazine
Named one of the Best Baltimore Books of 2015 by the Baltimore City Paper
Short Story- Fiction Finalist- Indie Book Awards 2016
The stories in Get a Grip depict a range of imagined lives. There are Estonian brothers trekking from their blighted neighborhood to a college interview. There’s a TV meteorite hunter in town to search for otherworldly treasure. We meet a widow addicted to physical pain and a successful ad executive who loses all his worldly possessions in one day. All of the characters work out their struggles in the Baltimore region, channeling, in turns, the area’s charm, its despair, its humor, its self-doubt, its compassion. Get a Grip is a book about who we are when the cameras are off and the phone has died.
In her smart and beautifully observed stories, Kathy Flann drops us straight into the complex lives of a collection of imperfect strivers, who want love, want to be good, or want somehow to transcend their makeshift existences, and who are often their own worst enemies. Each of these tales is simultaneously a portrait of its grim-funny, yet touching protagonist and of a land, very like the United States, where everything is possible, and nothing is quite what it should be.
Winner of the 2008 Serena McDonald Kennedy Award
"Please welcome Kathy Flann, whose keen eye, quick pencil, and tremendous heart have reached practically everybody in the inverted but wholly believable community of Smoky Ordinary, from small to great, the up-and-comers to the down-and-outers, from the woman caring for her dying husband to the man that howls like a dog, from a jaded former United States President to the bird smashed on the grill of his limo. This collection marks the beginning of an original and memorable career."
-Madison Smartt Bell
Kathy Flann's characters are stunningly drawn, complex, and compelling, and the stories in this collection accumulate rich, insightful, and often hilarious detail to create a breathtaking view of American life. Smoky Ordinary is an extraordinary debut!