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.
© Ashley Cowger