A short story collection exploring the bounds of contemporary family and how we move forward in a world so often changed by loss.
Lauded by Kevin Wilson as “an exceptional collection that introduces us to an exciting new voice,” The Great American Everything orbits the experiences of relationships, be it brother-to-brother, sister-to-sister, patient-to-caregiver. Rendered with tenderness and a keen eye, these ten stories cut into the ways families approach questions of aging, adoption, loss, and class. A young woman hired to provide accompaniment services to an elder confronts the borders of complicity and friendship; two brothers search for details of their recently deceased grandfather in the desert; a college student faces her friend’s abuser during a door-to-door fundraising campaign.
For fans of Amy Hempel and Rick Moody, these stories, spread over varied landscapes of the South from Memphis to New Orleans, contend with the ways in which the places we live dictate the way we trust and protect our own. Scott Gloden has assembled a precise and moving collection that considers what makes a family, however makeshift or impromptu its design.
Scott Gloden is the winner of the C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize.
Praise for The Great American Everything
"Scott Gloden’s The Great American Everything is an exceptional collection about loss, the grief that follows, and the stunned way that we seek to find a way forward in a world that feels radically different. Gloden explores these difficult subjects with such tenderness and complexity that he never strikes a false note, never repeats himself. This is an amazing book that introduces us to an exciting new voice." —Kevin Wilson, author of Now is Not the Time to Panic
"You will want to tear through these ten funny, worldly and brilliant stories; they are so in love with everything they encounter. The language these stories give to their events is incredible, grasping so much joie de vivre, but also sudden heartbreak and despair. From the first paragraph the text is in utterly tragic territory, but the reader is invited to see this through the buoyancy of love and of art." —Rebecca Lee, author of Bobcat and Other Stories
"Gloden’s sharp prose is at its sharpest when he turns his eye to place: searching for saguaro (and a grandfather’s ghost) in New Mexico, White Linen Night in New Orleans, seeking environmental reparations door-to-door in the fancy neighborhoods of Memphis. It’s not always summer, but these stories sear, sweat. Gloden earns the title The Great American Everything, a collection I’ll return to again and again." —Mary Miller, author of Biloxi
"Social conscience meets psychological despair in stories that show plenty of literary command." —Kirkus Reviews
"Gloden enlivens the everyday situations with insightful social commentary and memorable voices. As slice-of-life stories go, these stand out." —Publishers Weekly
"From the first story to the last, it is clear that life has no easy answers: there are only imperfect people making the best decisions they can in the moment. It is all too easy to relate to these characters as they are overwhelmed by forces bigger than themselves, but try to do what’s right anyway. The Great American Everything is a collection of quiet stories about how large-scale problems fit into the realm of each individual’s existence." —Eileen Gonzalez, Foreword Reviews
"This timely collection of stories is linked by loss, love, and location — both social and physical. These 10 works are all set in the South but somehow offer a full sampling of the American identity dilemma. There is no one American culture. Gloden seems content to assert that perhaps to fall apart is not to be divided. It is instead simply to be and belong in this 'everything' of states that we call America." —Kashif Andrew Graham, Chapter16
"The 10 stories in this wry collection explore the concept of family in the modern day, from brothers discussing bomb threats at the post office where they work to a woman pulled between her elderly charge and her girlfriend." —The New York Times