Garnett Kilberg Cohen, "Cravings" (U Wisconsin Press, 2024)


Garnett Kilberg Cohen’s fourth short story collection, Cravings (University of Wisconsin Press, 2024), contains twelve beautifully-written tales. They each start simply before delving into universal human struggles of love, aging, repercussions, and community. Characters mull over or confront decisions and recognize or bemoan past mistakes. A little girl’s life changes while she’s sneaking olives from the pantry, a woman is plunged back in time while attending the book release of her ex, parents of a disabled child struggle as their marriage frays, the daughter of an ex appears on television, and a woman destroys the reputation of her only friend. The collection is about cravings of one kind or another, but also covers a range of complex emotions that arise over the course of a lifetime.

Garnett Kilberg Cohen was born and raised in Ohio and feels a strong connection to the Midwest, a place in her memory that is replete with farms, small towns, car factories and fields of corn and purple clover. As a child, she was paid one cent for every five dandelions she ripped by the roots from her family’s yard. Her favorite drink was a cherry phosphate sipped while twirling on a stool at the marble counter of the village drug store. Yet, she was aware of the secrets and trauma often just below the surface. Cravings is Cohen’s fourth collection of short stories. She has also published a poetry chapbook, Passion Tour and multiple essays in such places as Rumpus, Antioch Review, The New Yorker online and Michigan Quarterly Review. Her honors include The Crazyhorse Fiction Prize, four awards from the Illinois Arts Council, and two Notable Essay citations from Best American Essays. In addition to writing and reading, she enjoys drawing, taking long walks, theater, museums and travel. In recent years, she has been fortunate to travel to far-flung places such as Taiwan, Australia, Laos, Tanzania, Iceland and Mexico. She believes that observation is often the key to understanding and inspiration for writing—even if the travel is just to a new neighborhood in the city where she now lives, Chicago.

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