The Glass City and Other Stories

The Glass City and Other Stories

by Jen Knox

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Overview

The Glass City and Other Stories by Jen Knox

Winner of Prize Americana for Prose, Jen Knox’s The Glass City and Other Stories is a shrewd yet playful collection that explores the dangers of extremes with a subtle, skillful elegance. In these sixteen stories, weather becomes a mirror for the internal struggles of Knox's indelible cast of characters. An aging acrobat looks for connectivity online as her city floods, two sisters are tasked to spread their mother's ashes on flowers that no longer exist, a man's scars become tattoos as he attempts to outrun truth, a reluctant host shares an island's secrets, and families survive natural disasters that shake out lies and bury inhibitions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780996777940
Publisher: Press Americana
Publication date: 07/14/2017
Pages: 182
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

The Glass City | 1

The Living Museum | 12

Gather the Ingredients | 19

Running Toward the Sun | 43

Don’t Tease the Elephants | 68

The Couple on the Roof | 74

The Inconvenience of It All | 87

A Handbook for Single Mothers | 92

A Perpetual State of Awe | 110

Nebraska | 120

Green | 126

West on N Road | 136

Fortune in Smoke | 151

Our Sky, the Ocean | 159

The Slope of a Line | 163

Acknowledgments | 171

About the Author | 172

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The Glass City and Other Stories 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
NicolaF More than 1 year ago
this is the second book I’ve read now by Jen Knox and it is just as amazing as the first! I think that “The Glass City” is one of those rare books that will appeal to a wide range of readers, no matter what your ‘favorite’ genre is. It just tells darn good stories and comes at you from so many different angles you don’t even know what hits you…. Knox demonstrates considerable talent for penning fabulous tales that almost anyone who reads them will connect to on some level. It has deep messages and subtext, danger, action, intrigue, and amazing characters and such great energy! I chuckled at several points, and almost cried at others. I think Ms. Knox is highly creative and has beautiful, passionate narration skills and can deliver the emotional payoff when it really matters. And it’s not like a typical literary novel that is all purple prose and slow paced… this is chock full of drama and with clean, quick narrative and dialogues. Give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!
MaxG456 More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars In “The Glass City…” Author Jen Knox creates some of the best, most realistic and genuine characters and situations I’ve encountered in a long time, anywhere, and I thought the descriptions and characters were wonderful, and could picture everything happening perfectly. I think some of the stories could have benefitted from some tightening, and at times it seemed to lose some focus (or I didn’t know what it was) or there wasn’t enough of a ‘hook’ for me. But the storylines were so dramatic and paced well for the most part. I like how we are not just bystanders in these characters’ lives, but engaged throughout. Although at times there is a sense of things being more ‘told’ to us and summed up quickly (like she wanted to wrap up the story quickly) And I wish it had more action at times. Was satisfied overall. Very well written and a worthy addition to the lit-fiction genre.
TabithaP1 More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars I am a huge fan of short stories of all kinds, and I think “The Glass City and Other Stories” makes more than a respectable showing in this genre. I commend Jen Knox for not being afraid to take chances and to put her characters in some very perilous situations – she doesn’t play it ‘safe’ the way so many authors tend to do with their characters and that’s what makes her stories exciting, even unpredictable. Like with her other book “After the Gazebo”, Ms. Knox demonstrates a remarkable ability to see inside people and their ‘lives’ and get us the reader to really experience conditions first hand that we never would otherwise. Almost like seeing life through a different set of glasses. These stories are brutal at times, heartwarming and inspiring and sometimes quite sad… but all touch on humanity in a way that is what literature is all about. Recommend
JTHACK More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars Truthfully I haven’t read any short stories in years and years, and it’s not normally a method of storytelling that I naturally gravitate towards. But based on a recommendation from a friend and some of the glowing reviews I’ve read on Jen Knox’s books, I decided to give this one a chance. Imagine my surprise when I read over half of the book in a single evening, and finished it entirely the next morning. And when I was done I was a bit sad. I wanted more! I was surprised that I almost felt like I got MORE out of this book because the stories were shorter and I was able to experience several different lives and events and perspectives, much more so than with a normal full-length novel. It was interesting, and really kept my attention. Some parts were sad, some funny, some not so funny, some shocking and even horrifying… but all in all was engaging and will stay with me for some time. Recommend to fans of general and lit fiction, and relationship/family life tales.
essieh More than 1 year ago
I found “The Glass City” to be absolutely riveting! I started reading it one night after supper with every intention of reading just a few stories for that evening and could not put it down. Not only is it an emotionally inspiring story with well-drawn characters whom you grow to care about deeply, but it is also informative on various aspects of life that we might not think about in the day-to-day….It is very impressive how Ms. Knox can so astutely put herself ---and by extension us-- in these characters’ shoes in such a convincing manner. Read this book. It will open your eyes to things that you might not really think about, or even just take for granted in life (like water!) Beautiful, sweeping prose and profound scenarios with sympathetic characters. Well written suspenseful action and plot twists that never feel contrived. A recommended read for literary short fiction lovers. I’m happy to see that Ms. Knox has a healthy backlist!
SamRyan More than 1 year ago
wow, what did I just read? That was freakin’ awesome! Ha! I’m not even a real big fan of short stories, but I like Jen Knox’s writing style and the fact that her stories while short, deliver a lot of action and character development and are very descriptive. The writing sets the mood and atmosphere perfectly, and even though I usually prefer more dialogue than narration, hers is so elegant and beautiful to read, it’s more of a pleasure to do it than a chore. They change from being written in first person to third, present tense to past, so they all have a little different tempo, and some almost read like a surreal stream of consciousness, but one that is very real, yet unusual circumstances, if you know what I mean. I feel like nothing I say will capture the essence of this fantastic collection! Jen Knox utilizes so many different styles and voices and situations, it’s almost hard to believe only one woman was writing all this. Great touch with the element of the weather throughout, and I really appreciate how polished it was, from editing to formatting. Must read for fans of literary fiction, short stories. Some of the best I’ve come across lately, hands down.
LauraClarke More than 1 year ago
this is the second book I’ve now read from the award-winning author Jen Knox, and I think what I like the most about reading her books (short stories collections) is how she can write about something that may seem quite ordinary or even simple, yet beneath the surface there are layers of subtext and hidden meanings. I would LOVE to see a book like this discussed in a college literature class, or maybe even a book club. Maybe it’s because I feel the need to talk about it with someone. Powerful, elegant, vivid writing coupled with a wicked imagination (and weather) and fierce intelligence and astute insight on people and their ‘stories’ is a recipe for a book unlike any other that I won’t soon forget. Highly recommend to fans of literary fiction and short stories, but even if those aren’t your usual genres you will probably be amazed by this book. I know I was!
LeoG2 More than 1 year ago
Review of “The Glass City and Other Stories” by award-winning author Jen Knox. This is a collection of short stories that are all varied, yet all impressive. Other short story collections I’ve read before have been collaborations of several different authors, therefore giving a more disjointed feeling to it… this one is all done by the same author, and I really appreciated how cohesive it made it feel, even if the stories weren’t related or even similar, I liked how the author’s writing style and ‘voice’ stayed consistent throughout. Each story revealed something new and different, whether its family relationships, internal conflicts, or external struggles (usually weather related – cool concept and works well here)… all things people can understand on different levels. An excellent book with beautiful writing, realistic concepts and situations, and with near flawless execution pacing and editing wise. Highly recommend.
JennaBrewster More than 1 year ago
It’s been a long time since I’ve read what I’d consider to be literary fiction (in novel or short-story form), as too often I feel the author is more interested in showing off fancy language and overwriting descriptions than in telling a good story. But Jen Knox managed to do both in the sense that she told good stories, but also did it in a beautiful way with brilliant word choices that only enhanced the overall experience. This collection covers a wide range of emotions, from sweet and heartwarming to downright tragic. But the underlying theme is one of the constant struggle to connect with each other, with ourselves, and survive the (oftentimes harsh and cruel) world around us. I will certainly read this book again in the future, along with anything else Jen Knox may write.
MarcellaGonz More than 1 year ago
I am a little on the fence with this book “The Glass City and Other Stories” mainly because while I enjoyed several of these stories to a degree, some felt like they were missing something to me – some strange plot twist or character development or profound epiphany or life lesson… just something. Some felt like they didn’t really have a beginning or end ,and sometimes I felt left hanging----- like the story was incomplete and I don’t like that. Just didn’t flow as easily as I would’ve liked. However, the stories were very well written and makes some very valid, interesting observations with some pretty crazy and unexpected events. Heavy topics on life are broached and handled with finesse, even when unpleasant, and it all felt very unique and original. Certainly worth a read
RepoManJM More than 1 year ago
these stories were great! Totally not what I normally read at all, (haven’t read any short stories since college lit class) but I’m glad to have stepped outside my normal genres for a change. What these stories lack in action or adventure they more than make up for in emotional punches, bizarre twists, shocking events, and unpredictable characters. And it will definitely take you out of your ‘comfort zone’ for a while… I liked how the stories were a bit dark without being too outlandish or melodramatic or depressing. Just gritty… real…raw. Jen Knox’s writing was easy to get lost in and the dialogue of the characters always sounded genuine and authentic. I’d love to read more of her books – happy to see she has several! Highly recommend for readers of short stories and literature.
SherriWarner More than 1 year ago
I thought this was an interesting and entertaining book, and the stories were terrific! All very good but of course I liked some more than others. It almost seemed like a mish-mash of several different lives and unusual situations that actually feel like could happen to almost anyone…There are lots of interesting characters and while I can’t say that there is any real overall ‘message’ here, it seems to just do a great job of expanding your awareness of the world around you and the wide range of lives that people lead and things they experience, good and bad. We never know what struggles someone is going through just to look at them, and many of these stories provided a profound ‘glimpse’, if you will… some parts are even pretty ‘deep’. Some stories felt a bit flat to me, and it could use more tension in some of them (or I didn’t know what the real point was) But as it was, this was a really entertaining and edgy and even eye-opening book that entertained me for a few hours.
ElizaBEB More than 1 year ago
what a refreshing change this book was! I loved it! I don’t usually read short stories so this was a real treat. I was so into each story, and as soon as it was over I was so curious to see what the next one would be about! While none of the stories were connected to each other (not sure why I thought they would be), they mostly all had the same similar literary and emotional and ‘human’ vibe and is written in such a way that you feel very engaged and a part of their life and (usually extreme) circumstances, like you really know the characters and are in their shoes (for better or worse – usually worse but in a good way). They are all good stories, but I think “Don’t Tease the Elephants” was my favorite. The coolest part was how these stories were so realistic, yet each had a surreal/mysterious feeling to them, like there’s more going on than we ever really know. And the whole book had perfect editing and formatting. Well done.
BrendaMax More than 1 year ago
as a huge fan of Jen Knox’s other book, “After the Gazebo”, I was interested to see how her latest short story collection would measure up, and if it would deliver the same impactful experience I felt with the first. I’m pleased to say that “The Glass City” was just as good, if not better in its own way. One again I was impressed with this author’s ability to write about something that may seem ordinary, but put an entirely unique perspective on it and really gets you to see the perspectives of the characters who are usually struggling, troubled, or flawed in some way. The prose is remarkable and the descriptions of each scene, transport the readers there either physically or emotionally. Jen Knox is a very gifted writer and her stories are a treasure to read. Absolutely recommend to people who enjoy reading realistic literary stories that are artistic and graceful, but with powerful twists. Looking forward to more!
ClaireBear74 More than 1 year ago
Jen Knox does it again!! WOW, can this woman write or what? I’m having a hard time picking out my favorite story in this book, as there were several. Every once in a while, you read something that makes you totally forget about the outside world for a little while and you are totally transported to another level of consciousness. Not often, but when it happens, it is amazing. Time almost stands still and you feel a new part of your mind opening up, as if for the first time. That is how I felt while reading “The Glass City and Other Stories”. Completely engaged from the first page to the last, eagerly reading each story and devouring every word. I’ll say that I think I connected better with the longer stories than I did with the shorter ones, although each their own mark on my heart and psyche, and in my opinion that is where Ms. Knox’s real strength lies…a rare gift indeed. Can’t wait to read more from her in in the future!
NikkyH7117 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this and found myself reading it much faster than I anticipated I would. I’ve read several short story collections in the past and while I usually enjoy them as I like the shorter length and the tighter focus on a singular plot, I enjoyed this book as a whole, and thought each story was as good as (if not better than) the one before! It’s hard to pick a favorite from the collection, as each was good and unique in its own right, but it was probably “Gather the Ingredients”? I don’t know. I also really liked “Running Toward the Sun” and “A Perpetual State of Awe” and especially “The Glass City” (the first one). So descriptive and evocative, and you really feel a part of the characters’ suffering and struggles (in a good way). Great writing and characterizations, and each story felt unique and unlike anything I’ve read – really pushed some boundaries. I will definitely look for more books like this from Jen Knox in the future.
SteffyC More than 1 year ago
Author Jen Knox writes with a confidence and clarity that is unusual to find in authors these days. The words just flowed off the pages, and I was easily swept up in the lovely, lyrical narrative prose. While these stories varied in length, they are all on the shorter side and can be easily read in brief amount of time which is great for someone like me who is able to read only in small spurts of time here and there. I like that I am easily able to finish a story (or 2) and see it wrap up. Even though I liked some of the tales more than the others—as to be expected, I’m sure—they each offered something worthwhile and stood out in a special way. Nicely edited and I thought it was neat that Jen Knox did a great job of creating vivid scenes that incorporated many powerful elements, from nature to human nature. Recommend for fans of literary/short fiction.
Darla_Ortiz More than 1 year ago
for me, author voice is almost everything, and it will make or break a book/story and my enjoyment of it. I need to hear originality and know that the author is not trying to sound or write like someone else, but is telling her story (stories) in a whole new way, whatever that story may be. I feel like I can smell a fake a mile away, and believe me I’ve read my fair share of books from authors who are ‘trying’ to emulate better, more accomplished authors. What impressed me the most here was that I thought that Jen Knox’s writing style was authentic, genuine, and spoke to the heart in a way that few books (especially short stories) are able to do. Each story was incredibly well written, and imparted such moving, haunting tales in such a short amount of time…. Normally it would take a novel of much longer length for me to feel the emotional impact I did while reading “The Glass City (and other stories)”. Profound and literary, with an effortlessly beautiful narrative prose and memorable characters that stay with you, each story was different in their own way, but all very good and with a similar vibe. Easy to see why this author is an award-winner for her prose, and I definitely would like to read more from her someday. Recommend for mature readers of literary fiction and short stories.
GillianH More than 1 year ago
well-written, intriguing and thought provoking. This compilation of tales on the human experience as told by author Jen Knox will leave you wanting more! “The Glass City and Other Stories” is a collection of several short stories, each based on different people or unique situations (usually with the element of weather playing a role in some way) and we experience a part of their life with them – good and tragic. I was sad to finish it so quickly, but I didn’t want to stop reading once I started! And I thought the story length to be perfect to take in smaller doses, do something else for a bit, then read another story. “The Glass City…” reveals different aspects of humanity and unique characters, but is also very relatable. Some are just few pages long, some over 20 pages. There are 16 stories in all, and while it is hard to pick a favorite, it may have been the first one (which is also the name of the book). But the story with the 2 sisters and the one with the avalanche were also very powerful and resonated with me. Great editing and presentation. Overall I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others to read as well who enjoy literary short stories.
-Cale-Owens- More than 1 year ago
As a huge reader of books, most of them indie or small-press published, I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that there will be certain things that won’t be up to the same standards as the big press published books, usually in editing or the quality of writing. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the top-notch professionalism in this book, from the editing to the strength of the narration and the complexity of the characters and engaging storylines—a real challenge considering the shorter length of these stories. This anthology is one of the better ones I’ve read, and kudos to Jen Knox for raising the bar, and she will be on my list of authors to watch. Recommend for readers of literary/ short-story story fiction.
KayleeeKS More than 1 year ago
another winner! I’d read a different short-story collection by Jen Knox last year and loved it, so I knew I had to read this book as well. While “The Gazebo” was really good – in my opinion this one, “The Glass City…” was even better. This collection is unlike anything I’ve read in a long tome—dark and deep with a genius literary twist – human and nature collide in some extraordinary ways. The writing is complex at times, yet vivid and conveys great emotion without being overly emotional. The prose is surreal at times, frighteningly observant and blunt at other times, terrifyingly realistic at others. Once again, I have to give this author the highest rating because she is by far one of the more talented that I have ever had the privilege of reading when it comes to writing powerful short-stories and I have truly enjoyed them all.
BellaReadz More than 1 year ago
Okay, I LOVED this book! I really liked her other book too (“After the Gazebo” – check it out!!) I love short stories as I have such a limited time to read these days and I like to be able to see it wrap up in a single sitting. Unfortunately, it seems that so many times the shorter fiction pieces fail to really capture enough of my attention and when the story is over it’s kind of a letdown. But almost without exception I thought these stories were all so good, and I almost wish Knox could continue to write even more about these fascinating characters! (although some their stories are definitely over). Sometimes I felt like we just got a small taste and it left me to wonder what happened to them next…Although most stories do tie up Regardless, a GREAT read and I’m happy to have discovered this talented author! Both of her books have been such a treat, I think. It has some heavier issues and a few scenes that might bother very sensitive readers but it’s nothing too terrible. Just real. Recommend for mature fans of literary short stories and dramatic fiction.
SDecker More than 1 year ago
this is kind of a hard book to review since it’s broken up into different stories so it’s not like I can describe each one or rate them separately. Because some I liked, some I LOVED, and some where just okay for me… and there was one I didn’t like at all! (haha, can’t win em all!) But if I were to tell someone about this, I’d say that even if you don’t care for the plot itself, or what the story is actually about (or the decisions the characters make), you will still enjoy the narration and the scenery/descriptions (and conversations). There is a similar vibe throughout the book that makes it flow seamlessly from one story to the next, but like I said, I thought some parts more enjoyable than others, but of course that is just personal opinion and it is up to each reader to decide what he or she will like! Try it.
AprilDawn More than 1 year ago
this is the second book I’ve read from this author and they have both been so wonderful, but I think this one was even better than the last! (Although I certainly enjoyed that one as well). With exceptional writing and skillfully crafted, “The Glass City” was a delightful and eclectic collection of some of the more insightful stories I’ve read in recent memory… or at least since I’d read Ms. Knox’s last book. Definitely better than many other collections I’ve read before (some by famous big name authors, too!) IMO this book is worth the time and money (such a bargain!!!) and is a “Must Have” if you enjoy reading short stories. There were too many “favorites” to choose just one or two… probably at least half a dozen were amazing (out of 16 that’s not too shabby!!) Don’t read if you are looking for light and fluffy… but if you want flawed and troubled characters who speak to your heart and psyche and pull you into their dramatic and tumultuous worlds from the safety of your own, then dive right in. And each story is different, but they all have a familiar thread of love and loss, loneliness, changes, dealing with difficulties, tragedy, triumph, etc… all with strong writing and gorgeous descriptions. (5 stars). April Dawn
CodyBCB More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars this is the second book I’ve read from Jen Knox, the first being “After the Gazebo” which I loved. While I don’t read short stories very often, as I do prefer longer length stories, I feel that when done right they can affect you in a different way than a long book or novel can. Overall, the quality of the writing and editing was excellent (as was the first book), and I was truly impressed with the amount of ‘story’ Ms. Knox managed to utilize in such a short amount of space. I really enjoyed the characters and the atmosphere of each one, even though they are all different from each other, the whole book shared a collective ‘feel’ that was quite appealing. The weather was almost like a separate character at times, from a flood, to a drought, to an avalanche… I really liked several of them, and can’t really choose a favorite as they each had their own message and affected me in different ways – admittedly some more than others. But an interesting and eclectic collection, they all have lovely prose and narration, a collective emotional experience that will touch you, and profound moments that are sometimes tragically permanent. Highly recommend for readers of literary fiction and short stories.