Love Songs For The Quarantined – by K.L. Cook

K.L. Cook’s award-winning Love Songs for the Quarantined illuminates the unexpected, the unforeseen – the moments when, without warning, everything changes.  A surprise visit from the infamous Bonnie Parker and Clyde barrow disturbs a thirteen-year-old boy’s routine – and future.  A fortune teller’s ominous predictions unsettle two brothers during their first visit to the Cotton Bowl.  Whooping cough quarantines a family and reminds them of their precarious history.  A minuscule filament of hot steel lodges in a man’s eye and irrevocably alters the course of his marriage.  Sixteen love songs about the transformations that await us – whether we’re ready or not.

Reading K.L. Cook’s Love Songs for the Quarantined I had the giddy feeling I was privy to a secret, that somehow I was being let in on a great, hidden story that few were lucky to read, and as I continued to the next story and the next, I had the same remarkable feeling.  This is a lucid and luminous collection – an extraordinary book.  K.L. Cook works a rare magic.  -Debra Magpie Earling.

As the title suggests, these are songs for people entrapped by love.  Sometimes it’s a happy entrapment, but more often it’s unhappy, and most of the time just plain inscrutable in the way that love can be.  These stories are plain-spoken and fine, not the least of which is the lead story, in which a dying man with a deformity is visited by his cousin, Clyde Barrow… yes, of Bonnie and Clyde fame… and the protagonist takes a Kodak picture of woundings upon woundings.  The stories are also savvy and compelling.  K.L. Cook knows the landscape of love in modern times perfectly.  -John Keeble

Love Songs for the Quarantined is a winner of the Spokane Prize in fiction.  It can be purchased here.