Especially the Bad Things

Short stories by Greg Gerke

Can a meaningful relationship survive on one person’s love for a beard? Can Shakespeare protect a doomed romance from an angry bee stuck in a car? How does an old iron speak to affairs of the heart? Or a necklace screwed to a wall? Or a neglected lute music CD? And how can we gauge the secret yearnings of the woman who writes novels about werewolves?

Wry and absurd, pithy and profound, the short fiction of Greg Gerke takes the pulse of couples who’ve arrived at the end of something, one-time lovers mired in “the unendurable zone.” Moments of improbable grace are salvaged from bitter break-ups, prolonged languor is punctuated by outbreaks of panic and violence, and the acute pain of thwarted hopes dissipates into indifference. In each of these stories, forty times over, Gerke diagnoses the poisons of heartache with results that pull in two directions at once: comical and grotesque, caustic and humane, sharp-tongued and stirringly sincere.

Paperback: £9.99

eBook: £4.99


Greg Gerke is an essayist and writer of short fiction, based in New York. His work has appeared in 3 AM Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. His collection of essays, See What I See, is also available from Splice.

Bonus Material

Read stories from Especially the Bad Things:

Read The Wrong Things List, excerpted at 3:AM Magazine.

Read The Bee, excerpted at Berfrois.

Read two fictions, High On the Thigh and Three Rich Women, excerpted at The Rupture.

Read Descant, excerpted in the Columbia Journal.

Read a two-part interview with Greg Gerke, about his inspirations and creative processes.

Praise for Especially the Bad Things

Gerke has set out to bend traditional ideas of what a flash fiction/short story should be, cramming his pieces with humour, sadness, twists and the odd sprinkling of something rather beautiful.

Mariah Feria

Greg Gerke is a short form wizard; dark, funny, and seriously sly. His book will deliver you to new strange thought and feeling.

Sam Lipsyte
author of The Ask, The Fun Parts, and Hark

These swift, swervy, nervous fictions — as often as not about writers in antic crisis with the language, lovers in trouble with their loves — are heartachingly hilarious and stocked from margin to margin with agony-born brilliances fresh and revitalizing. Greg Gerke’s endearingly self-questioning narrators worry their doubts into a make-do grace that leaves a reader sweetened too.

Gary Lutz
author of Stories in the Worst Way and Divorcer

In this remarkable series of ruefully funny and insightful bursts, Greg Gerke manages to reorder the mundanity of alienation into something urgent and vital.

Sergio de la Pava
author of A Naked Singularity, Personae, and Lost Empress

If you put Lydia Davis and Philip Roth’s Portnoy in a blender you might get Greg Gerke’s quirkily neurotic, hilariously honest voice.

Susan Shapiro
author of Lighting Up and What’s Never Said

How is it that Greg Gerke’s short stories make dislocation, miscommunication, and the anxious knots of the mind seem worthwhile and even kind of fun? Get prepared for a writer who wonderfully navigates bumbling, ordinary life with smart, sharp writing and a big dose of compassion.

Victoria Redel
author of Make Me Do Things