Praise for Some Kinds of Love: Stories
April 2013, University of Massachusetts Press
Winner of the 2012 Juniper Prize
Paperback ISBN 978-1-62534-028-3
Hardback ISBN 978-1-62534-027-6
Ebook ISBN 978-1-61376-292-9
“The language is totally unlike anything used by myself or any other writer of Ozarks fiction. Is it possible that Niangua will become your Stay More? Your ‘new’ style is magic realism at its best.”
—Donald Harington, author of The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks, The Choiring of the Trees, Enduring, and many others
“In this new collection, Steve Yates exhibits the best kind of ambition—in other words, he’s willing to take some big risks. Just when you think you know what’s coming, he throws you for yet another loop. I admire his work wholeheartedly, and I hope this book gets all the attention that it and the author deserve. Yates is one tremendous writer.”
—Steve Yarbrough, author of Safe from the Neighbors, Visible Spirits, Prisoners of War, The End of California, and many others
“Some Kinds of Love is nothing short of masterful. You would think this was the work of not one but a dozen writers, so impressive is Yates’s range of subject, setting, mood, and effect, from the quiet, ghastly intrigue of ‘Hunter, Seeker’ to the blowout hilarity of the Green Tomato Marquesa’s triumph. In Steve Yates’s stories, pigs really do fly. He is a brilliant, and brilliantly inventive writer, and this book is sheer delight from beginning to end.”
—Ben Fountain, author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara: Stories and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
“Steve Yates’s stories have that far-underrated quality: range. Yates writes across genres, cultures, sexual borders, and always brings it home. The stories are funny, sad, sometimes wonderfully odd, always inventive and intelligent. Yates is a truly fresh and interesting voice in a time when too often we seem to celebrate the flashy fiction of me, me, me.”
—Brad Watson, author of Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives: Stories and The Heaven of Mercury
“Some Kinds of Love is a richly entertaining book—inventive, irreverent, and, finally, moving. Steve Yates’s well-drawn cast of characters tracks love into its darkest corners with astonishing results. This wildly imagined, wise book surprises—in the best way possible—until the very last page.”
—Sabina Murray, Juniper Prize contest judge and author of The Caprices and Tales of the New World
“You only have to read one of these stories to know you’re in the hands of a master. But I recommend reading them all.”
—Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, and Hell at the Breech
From Shelf Awareness (5.7.2013)
“Steve Yates (Morkan’s Quarry) offers his first story collection in Some Kinds of Love, winner of the Juniper Prize for Fiction. The 12 stories have Southern settings–seven in Missouri and the Ozarks, including a lovely piece of magic realism, “Mila Joins the Game.” Mila Handrill is “possibly the greatest slow-pitch softball player in Lawry City,” because he can see just far enough into the future to have a decided advantage in how the game will turn out–until the season’s final all-night softball tournament. Suddenly, he sees an orange color pulsating in the east, coming on fast. The team needs him, though, so he bats, with the end of the world rounding third base.
Another Yates story, “Report on Performance Art in One Province of the Empire, Especially in Regard to Three Exhibitions Involving Swine,” noted as a distinguished selection in the 2010 Best American Short Stories, is a David Barthleme-meets-George Orwell jaunt. The narrator of “Pleasures of the Neighborhood” is a UPS worker obsessed with insects–and with a married, plus-sized woman named Donna who can’t resist him, either. He chronicles their relationship, and her weight gain, with scientific charts and drawings. “A hundred notes my heart sings as the towel drops,” he writes. “The sun is fire on my hands and back…. We sweat. We accept.”
Yates surprises often with his range of subjects and moods, with fresh voices and writing styles to complement them all. Some kinds of love and some kinds of work–regular work, job-keeping work–link these generous, thoughtful and inventive tales for the taking. –Tom Lavoie, former publisher
Discover: Sex toy catalogue designers, Pakistani terrorists and a furniture factory worker who’s an oracle; meet a bunch of characters who are just like you–but aren’t.”
From Publishers Weekly
“In this sturdy story collection, Yates (Morkan’s Quarry) parades a cast of characters who, as diverse as they appear on the surface, have in common an underlying ignorance and mistrust of others. This trait manifests in a larger theme of historical prejudice in the “American Empire”, the setting of these tales which range in time from 1833 to the present. The memorable ensemble includes an aging gay bachelor disturbed by a series of burglaries in his rapidly declining neighborhood; a vocationally and romantically unfulfilled highway inspector who has an affair with an uncouth contractor; an insect-collecting fat fetishist dealing with conflicting feelings toward the married object of his affection; a disaffected Pakistani would-be terrorist in post-9/11 Jackson, Mississippi; and a slow pitch softball player who happens to be able to see the future. Contrary to what the title suggests, the stories are more about what love is not: misdirected lust and other complex, confounding desires; but also personal and professional ennui and a sort of general angst. Instead of getting their comeuppance though, Yates’s clueless characters get laid, get back together, or get a new SUV, which somehow rings true: good things happen to bad people, or more accurately in these cases, things happen to people. (May)”
From the Baton Rouge Advocate
“Quirky does not mean bad, not at all. This collection was awarded the Juniper Prize for Fiction by the UMass Press. Yates might plead victim of location: the stories are set in the Missouri Ozarks, in Mississippi and in Louisiana, and quirky is in the water in these places. It’s better to have some issues, some romantic issues, some sexual issues…. Kinky is fine, and in Yates’ hands, so is quirky…. This is a collection aimed at adults who pay attention when they read. Don’t expect Yates to spoon-feed you anything. Reader participation is required here. Do it and you’ll be rewarded.”–Greg Langley
From the Greenwood Commonwealth
“Form always gives way to function, and Yates’ elegant prose presents elegant characters, composed of grit, eccentricity and the respective landscapes that created them. Yates’ characters are the products of the Missouri Ozarks, New Orleans and Mississippi, places that serve as the backdrop for stories about different kinds of love.”–Jeanie Riess
From the Springfield News-Leader
“What would happen if someone had the gift of continuously seeing one hour into the future, but never seeing anything of significance, until he envisioned the most significant event of all time?
Something like this question was one of many that Springfield native Steve Yates asked himself as he conceived his short story, “Mila Joins the Game.”
A graduate of Glendale High and Missouri State University and once a sports clerk for the News-Leader, Yates will read this piece from his new short story collection on Monday at the Library Center.
In another appearance to support the release of the book, “Some Kinds of Love,” he’ll sign copies on May 18 at Barnes & Noble in Springfield.
Seven of the 12 stories in the collection are set in the Ozarks, four in Springfield, in recent years and reaching back nearly two centuries. His 2010 novel, “Morkan’s Quarry,” is set during the Civil War in Springfield and elsewhere in Missouri. Although place is important in his work, these stories show that his main source for material is his own creative imagination.
Yates, who works as assistant director/marketing director at University Press of Mississippi in Jackson, Miss., said some of the Springfield stories are based on local events and local ethos. However, the basis for collecting the stories was more thematic, he said.
“I came to a notion of what would be in the book partly because of the challenge my wife had given me — to dare to write a happy ending,” Yates said.” — Ed Peaco
“Fiction authors must have split personalities, an ability to develop a full-scale life outside their own. The success of their novels often depends on the skill of taking readers to another place or dimension.
If that is indeed the case, then author Steve Yates has many, many personalities. “Some Kinds of Love,” a collection that emphasizes the emotion’s power, is proof that Yates has an extraordinary, if not somewhat twisted, imagination and perspective.
This is not Yates’ first trip into a fictional world. His first novel, “Morkan’s Quarry,” was touted as an outstanding work of historic fiction. Yates also has been awarded the Juniper Prize for Fiction sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Press to honor and publish outstanding works of literary fiction. When he’s not writing, Yates is dealing with other authors as the assistant director/marketing director at the University Press of Mississippi.
The arrangement of 12 short stories covers the power of love from its simplest form to its more depraved. Some portray obsessiveness and greed while others depict destructiveness and other negative emotions. Most, however, carry a message that love comes and goes unexpectedly – and always with consequences.”–Susan O’Bryan
From American Book Review (January/February 2014, Volume 35, Number 2)
“It seems as though short stories are a dying art, replaced by a never-ending stream of flash fiction, so it’s refreshing to see a collection with hardly a piece shy of five thousand words, especially when they are as expertly crafted as the dozen stories comprising Some Kinds of Love.
Yates works comfortably with period material having researched the era thoroughly, but also restraining himself from a deluge of details, sharing only a handful of the pertinent but telling details to make the setting genuine. This is true of all his period pieces, of which there are several in this collection.
Yates’s strength as a writer is in his eye for detail and his ability to create believable, likeable characters. He slips into different time periods and personality types that would be very difficult for a lesser writer to pull off; But he’s also capable of handling some tough material.
Yates’s collection is a refreshing alternative to the pop-culture referencing, seemingly assembly line produced flash-fiction and short fiction being pumped out these days. Yates crafts well-rounded characters whose interests aren’t simply those of a twenty-something college kid, as opposed to so much that’s out there. Yates’s stories focus on the Ozarks and Southern life, but he avoids cliché and familiar scenarios, breathing new life into these locales. I enjoyed this collection and look forward to reading more of Yates’s work.” –CL Bledsoe, author of Riceland: Poems, Naming the Animals: Collected Stories, and Last Stand in Zombietown.
From Shenandoah, Vol. 63, No. 2, an omnibus review of new story collections by Tom Perotta, Joyce Carol Oates, Rebecca Lee, Peter Makuck, and Steve Yates
“Steve Yates’s Some Kinds of Love, winner of the Juniper Prize, is certainly the most wide-ranging collection among those considered here. The book’s protagonists include highway construction engineers, Civil War survivors, designers of a catalogue that features sex toys, gay men embroiled in a troubled relationship and, for good measure, a Pakistani terrorist. In the broadest sense imaginable, these are love stories, though the characters are so involved in the minutiae of daily life that love comes at them unexpectedly, but no less forcefully for that…. Yates is to be admired for his wide-ranging ambition in this book. Some Kinds of Love is for the most part beautifully imagined and written. If the dubious maxim ‘Write what you know’ is here ignored almost to a fault, the author… is certainly an intrepid explorer of the human heart.”–Greg Johnson, whose reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, Virginia Quarterly Review and Georgia Review. He’s also published two novels and five collections of short stories, including the recent collection Last Encounter with the Enemy (Johns Hopkins) and the novel Pagan Babies (Dutton).
From Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, 13.2
“In Steve Yates’ new short story collection, Some Kinds of Love, Yates acts like a narrative chameleon. Each story is radically different in terms of characters, plot, and setting….
There is a certain wide-eyed energy to most of the stories in this collection. Many jump forward with nary a breath between important moments. Yates does his best to maximize the importance of every word upon the page. Yet a well-told tale is not good enough for Yates. His stories are surprising, humorous, and sometimes shocking. If at any moment a story seems like it will be predictable, a slight curve is thrown in the mix.
…It’s this struggle to define certainty in relationships that ties the stories together. Yates wisely ends the stories at their soonest stopping point. Other authors might continue for even a few sentences more and destroy the mystery, destroy the lingering thoughts in the reader’s brain.
And these stories will simmer long after the book has been put down.”–Alex Hughes
From Missouri Life Magazine, May 29, 2014
“Throughout the twelve stories of this book, Yates explores the complicated nature of love and what it does to the human spirit. A variety of characters are contained within the stories, as well as different settings, including the Missouri Ozarks. Find out what it really means to love and to overcome the obstacles that life throws at us.”
From Elder Mountain: A Journal of Ozarks Studies, Issue 6: 2015
“Some Kinds of Love by Steve Yates sends readers through a variety of regions, from the Ozarks in Missouri to the rich culture of New Orleans, and time periods, from the conclusion of the Civil War near Springfield, Missouri, to the era of amphetamines in Mississippi. His stories of love are not the anticipated or traditional love narratives; instead, he often guides his reader through a range of differing worlds where love can be hauntingly dark or magically peculiar.”—Alex Pinnon