If you’re taking a break between reading novels, and you’re looking for a great short story collection, you can’t go wrong with Michael Kardos’ new collection One Last Good Time.
Contrary to what MTV might have us believe, not all the characters found at the Jersey Shore are bronzed, brash, and bare-chested. Some are beleaguered, bashful bumblers who return home from bowling alleys to be berated by talking ashes of former music teachers, babbling bunny rabbits, and babies that might be God.
In One Last Good Time, the short story collection debut of Michael Kardos, co-director of the Mississippi State creative writing program, life at the Jersey Shore ranges from the banal to the absurd, full of the kind of sad beauty that still haunts Asbury Park Convention Center and hints at its glory days.
Advance praise for One Last Good Time:
“In an impressive debut collection, surprise outcomes and absurdist touches inform the misadventures of adults and adolescents living the blue-collar life on the New Jersey shore. In interlinked stories that combine the poignant coming-of-age humor of Thomas Rogers’ Jerry Engels novels and the weird wrinkles of George Saunders’ stories, Kardos presents a gallery of lovable losers struggling with jobs, relationships and fading dreams in the fictional town of Breakneck Beach… Kardos is such an original, offbeat, revealing talent…Affecting stories about New Jersey oddballs trying to overcome difficult circumstances.” —Kirkus Reviews
“ONE LAST GOOD TIME, a wise and beautifully crafted collection of stories set in the fictional town of Breakneck Beach, New Jersey, is one of the sharpest, funniest, and most compassionate debuts you will ever have the good fortune to read. Without a doubt, Michael Kardos is a truly gifted writer and a vibrant new voice in American letters.”—Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff
“Michael Kardos’s soulful stories take place in that hard-luck corner of New Jersey where rock and roll dreams crash into blue-collar reality. ONE LAST GOOD TIME is a remarkable debut collection, full of stories that are funny and melancholy at the same time.” —Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children and The Abstinence Teacher