Missouri Review Books



from the stories in Private Lives:

Click here to order.

“They’d kept the relationship secret because they wanted to tell Vanessa first, and doing it long-distance didn’t feel right. But now they were happy, happiness spilled from them, sloshed like liquid from a drunk person’s glass. Through the scrim of joyful phrases Vanessa eventually discerned that not only were they together; not only were they engaged; but Kelsey was living here, she had moved in months ago.”

“Money, Geography, Youth” ~ Alix Ohlin

“The boy has a gift of transformations: in weeks he has transformed Emma from a girl unashamed of her braces, a girl unashamed of her brother’s lisp, a girl who loved reading books with dragons on their covers, into to a girl who refuses to enter the public library, a girl who will not sit next to her brother on the bus, a girl who will not smile for fear of showing her teeth.”

“A Cruel Gap-Toothed Boy” ~ Matthew Baker

“We talked about abandoning ship. Trying again in another place. Leaving everything where it lay, vanishing without a trace, leaving the rented house to the bats or even the Fletchers. But our discussions were circular. We kept coming back to my unemployment, our debt, and instead we fought fire with fire. We watched the bats exit the house each night. We drank more wine from plastic cups. We went inside and tried to do a little procreating ourselves. It was animalistic, primal; it was less fun after a week.”

“Florida Lives” ~ Dionne Irving

“Saba’s suitcase offered coveted prime real estate on a vessel traveling between here and there. Everyone wanted a piece; everyone fought to stake a claim to their own space. If they couldn’t secure a little spot in some luggage belonging to a traveling friend, they’d not send their things at all.”

“The Suitcase” ~ Meron Hadero

“He thought about how goddamn much he’d always outright loved the theater, how just seeing a play was different that reading a short story or a novel or a poem—it was always in the way characters hauntingly came alive right before the audience’s eyes in the darkness of a stage, more than dreamlike, and even a film didn’t have that essential magic: a film wasn’t conjured-up flesh and blood, it wasn’t human breath.”

“Oh, Such Playwrights!” ~ Peter LaSalle


from the stories in Strange Encounters:

Click here to order.

“In the mirror, her daughter’s eyes did something they had never done—glowed with a surreal and alien wisdom. It was not, BRB understood, the wisdom the child would gain after seventy years on this Earth but precisely the opposite. That which she would lose.”

“Singapore” ~ Lisa Taddeo

“According to subject number 6, in the winter of 1984 inside Nongpo provincial center a mon known only as i, or Tooth, saved her life through clever use of ventriloquism, a skill he used to spook the gulag warders into thinking every life they stole would return as an invisible phantom.”

“Tooth” ~ Tsung-yan Kwong

“The older you get, as in the case of Marlene, the less you believe what grown folks say, like claiming to have eyes in the back of their heads. It’s usually enough to scare the little ones out of devilment. Especially when grown folks could slap you just as well from behind as they could from the front. But the Coleman kids and their cousins all come to realize that with Gra’ Coleman it isn’t a myth.”

“How to Kill Gra’ Coleman and Live to Tell about It” ~ Kim Coleman Foote

“It does not really matter how my husband and I came to be caretakers of the equipment. Suffice it to say I knew someone who knew someone. A service was needed, and we were willing to provide it.”

“Hum” ~ Michelle Richmond

“The summer I was thirteen I clocked the Sea-Tac Airport for the first time. Pops was waiting at the gate in beat-up loafers and sweats. That’s the way he rocked: comfortable. He had long since lost his celebrity status in the city as a football star. Back in his playing days, he used to wear suits to games, but I guess sometime after the lights dimmed and the yelling stopped and the bones in his battered knees ground like pestles in mortars, he wanted something more forgiving.”

“The Legend of Lonnie Lion” ~ JM Holmes

“Something happened to me a long time ago, when I was a child. I saw something in the sky—a shape, a ship—with living beings in it. I know I saw this. I know, I know. I was late getting home, and I don’t actually remember how I got there—just that one minute I was on the road and the next I was home. What I saw has affected me my whole life.”

“Persistent Views of the Unknown” ~ Eleanor Lerman



A Faithful but Melancholy Account of Several Barbarities Lately Committed by Jason Brown.

Click here to order.

Praise for A Faithful but Melancholy Account and Jason Brown

“How beautifully these linked stories lead us into a family history which is a thicket of old legends and superb characters. With its long span and its sharp views, this is a remarkable collection.”

—JOAN SILBER, Improvement and Fools

“Jason Brown’s Howland stories are marvels, all of them perfectly brined in centuries of heartbreak, privation, cruelty, yearning and self-delusion. This book is a brilliantly observed, emotionally risky and often quite funny reminder of what a linked collection can do.”

—SAM LIPSYTE, Hark and The Ask

“Like peeking through the windows of a family even more eccentric than your own. With each story, you find yourself sucked further into this coastal Maine community until you’re damn near local. Masterful as it is playful, this is a serious look at the absurdity of family.”

—MAT JOHNSON, author of Pym and Loving Day



Trouble in Mind: The Short Story and Conflict, Kristine Somerville and Speer Morgan, editors.

Click here to order.

Praise for Trouble in Mind: The Short Story and Conflict

“Moments define us; however, we don’t always know which moments are significant until they pass us by.  Trouble in Mind illustrates vividly how ordinary characters live in such times of crisis, joy and wonder. This incredible collection of stories moved me for its beauty, compassion, and bravery.”

—MIN JIN LEE, author of Free Food for Millionaires and Pachinko


The Trail of the Demon and Other Stories by Jane Gillette, the first title of our imprint, Missouri Review Books.

Click here to order.

Praise for The Trail of the Demon and Jane Gillette

“Jane Gillette’s stories are sinewy and astringent, laced with mordant humor and sharp insights about the realities of sex, race, and privilege.  Often her narrators look back on their lives from a distance of years, discovering the “unlooked-for experience of foiled expectations.”  Her voice, reminiscent of Grace Paley or Edith Pearlman, is strong and smart and wholly her own.  This collection is a pleasure to read.”

–ALIX OHLIN, author of Inside and Signs and Wonders

“Jane Gillette’s scalpel-sharp prose strips away her characters’ carefully constructed facades and reveals their vulnerable, truest selves. Whether dissecting racial anxiety or class resentment or various forms of jealousy and disappointment, Gillette’s stories fearlessly expose the human heart beating beneath our civilization’s many veils.”

—MAY-LEE CHAI, author of Dragon Chica and The Girl from Purple Mountain

“For those interested in the short story, Gillette’s work will serve as a master class. In these stories, a perfect sense of craft is joined with a human warmth and a startling depth of insight that makes this collection indispensable.”

–SETH FRIED, author of The Great Frustration

“I’m sorry to say that I did not know Jane Gillette’s work until now, but I am grateful to Missouri Review Books for bringing this lovely collection to my attention. I liked every one of these stories. Gillette is a masterful writer.”

—STEVE YARBROUGH, author of Safe from the Neighbors and The End of California

Listen to the Bookworm interview with Jane here.