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This Business of the Flesh


When Tracy’s brother Aaron commits suicide, she inherits his dogs: two dog-aggressive pit bulls and the French mastiff Stella. As Tracy navigates her grief and desires, she also has to learn how to care for her new dogs – who come with issues of their own. The dogs provide independent Tracy with ready-made fences, and necessitate new relationships with others exploring their own memories, fractured families and mental health issues. Life in the small Wisconsin town is a fishbowl of sorts, but also a place where pain is private – oblique and whispered.

For anyone who has loved a dog, for anyone who has tried to navigate the small class distinctions of small-town America, for anyone who has tried to balance the expectations of who the world says they should be with their own unruly desires, This Business of the Flesh speaks to the families & friendships we make out of our pasts.

Girling (Brain Mill Press)

Girls at home, with their sometimes cruel and sometimes protective families, girls in other’s girls’ homes, seeing everything. Girls watching boys, girls in the woods, girls in fairy tales, and girls handled roughly, like disposable kittens in a sack for drowning. C. Kubasta imagines all the girls through the lens of two friends hurtling toward womanhood, as they crash into and orbit around men and each other—trying to snatch from life their own terrifying hopes and desires. Girling takes the reader into the magic and secret space that exists in the whispers between two girls, equally best friends and rivals. In direct, engaging prose, Kubasta locates the girl who women forget and men erase in a coming-of-age story that peels away the distortion and hazy memories that protect women from understanding their own power and hubris. This is an engaging fiction debut that exposes the heart and blood of small town BFFs as an unexpectedly sophisticated, fast-paced girlhood rife with fragile innocence, visceral experiences, and self-awareness.

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