Thirteen-year-old girls sunbathe in a public park, watching boys they realize they will never have. Three young friends’ admiration for their P.E. teacher leads to unexpected consequences. A woman reflects on the brother who went missing when she was twelve, while another longs for a father just out of reach. One girl gives up on being bad while another wearies of being good.
Kim Henderson’s collection The Kind of Girl ponders the ways girls and women find themselves defined—whether by their own hand or others’, their fantasies, or their unyielding environments. Here girls learn the complexity of adulthood and sexuality in stories of no more than 1,000 words each that are by turns absurd, realistic, and startlingly simple. Each story offers a fleeting but unflinching gaze into the mysteries, tragedies, and wonders of growing up.
Set mainly amid Indian reservations and uranium mills, the 12 stories in Red Ant House create a kaleidoscopic view of family, myth, love, landscape, and loss in a place where infinite skies and endless roads suggest a world of possibility, yet dreams are deceiving, like an oasis, just beyond reach.
Ann Cummins' work has appeared in The New Yorker, McSweeneys, Quarterly West, The Best American Short Stories and numerous other publications. She teaches creative writing at Northern Arizona University. She lives in Oakland, California.