If I'd Known You Were Coming by Kate Milliken
University of Iowa Press • $17 • ISBN 9781609382018
Published October 2013
The 12 carefully observed stories in Kate Milliken's debut collection introduce a fearless voice in fiction. Ranging in setting from California to Maine, from the 1970s to today, the stories feature everyday people, yet somehow manage to unsettle with their exploration of loneliness, dark motivations and desires.
Tim pulled off at the hookout, as usual. Josie opened the glove box to find the bottle of Jim Beam he stashed in whichever car he took. She uncapped it and slipped her shoes off and cranked the seat low enough that all she could see were the two or three stars visible behind the screen of smog. Josie had wanted to leave L.A. so badly, get as far as she could, filling out only out-of-state applications, but here she was all over, again. The whiskey warmed her: down her throat, inside her chest, moving through her until the whisper of its heat rested between her legs. She put her feet up on the dash and tapped her toes to the glass, pinning the stars.