On the Plus Side

(Galileo Press)

The stories in Ashley Cowger’s On the Plus Side pose an unanswerable question: what is the value of human connection? In what ways do our relationships with others bolster us? In what ways do our relationships drag us down? From “First Snow,” a story that exposes the disillusionment of motherhood, to “The True Story of Annabella,” which retells Cinderella through a queer lens, the stories in this collection investigate the dark and gritty side of human relationships.

​​Peter Never Came
​(Winner of the Autumn House Press Fiction Prize)
The characters in Ashley Cowger's short stories learn to accept the fear, the regret, and the beauty of growing up in a world where Peter Pan will never come. The lives portrayed here are firmly planted in reality, a place where dreams loom only as hope on a faraway horizon. In "Shades of Blue," an entire town mourns the death of a six-year-old boy, not knowing what a rotten human being he would have grown up to become; "Pan and Pirates" shows us two brothers attempting to summon a demon pirate out of a mirror. "Wishing on Airplanes" takes us into the mind of an aging college professor who longs for the kind of love he reads about in classical poetry; and in "Nature," a woman copes with the strength and anger she only just discovered she carries.