What attaches you to the characters in William Cass's moving first collection of stories is that they are loving people, emotionally observant and internally responsive to the world around them. Even when isolated, and many of them are, Cass's men and women know what it is to be connected. Even when their setting is bleak—a trailer camp for seasonal workers in Kansas, a small town in Minnesota—and their circumstances constrained—by limited means, education, depression, loss—they are actively seeking the best way to proceed. Young men and women doing mandatory community service help their wounded guard; college boys go to work in a migrant camp picking cantaloupes; a divorced, retired man tends his own loss by caring for his neighbor; a middle-aged café owner models both tenacity and gratitude in her relationships with aging friends, nephews, and incarcerated lover. Cass's characters look out, empathize even if they don't necessarily know how to respond effectively. They feel their failures to connect as losses, thus affirming the value of the effort itself. The characters in these stories are in ways large and small constantly making and remaking their commitment to hope, or something far more like it than not. ISBN: 978-1-7324514-6-9 200 pp.
WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING
To read a William Cass story is to discover whole worlds in just a few pages. Characters come to life with histories and longings and promise for the future. This collection is the very definition of hope. Savor it —Erika Raskin, author Best Intentions and Close
Here, precisely observed and austerely presented, are the lives of those people you see nursing a coffee and staring out the rainy windows of interstate truckstops. They’re between cities, houses, relationships, jobs. The ones things didn’t work out for. These are unremarkable people, lovingly listened-to, richly remembered. They matter to this deeply humane writer. Cass talks of big things – work, loss, loneliness – and also solidarity, sacrament – but he does it in the concrete details of lived life. Cass has a strong sense of the tension of the now, the hereness of here. These characters throb between lives, and occasionally find it in themselves to reach from solitude to solidarity. There’s credible human triumph here. —Adam Brooke Davis, Professor, Truman State University, Editor, Green Hills Literary Lantern
In these fifteen poignant stories, men and women find themselves and lose themselves and find themselves again as they search for human connection, chasing after those most elusive of goals: a place to call home and someone to share it with. William Cass writes beautifully of time and hope and this thing we call love, of “its variances and vagaries, of how we deal with it when it’s tested, tainted, or fraying apart. —Barry Kitterman, author of The Baker’s Boy and From the San Joaquin
William Cass’s Something Like Hope is a stunning collection of stories that peer into the lives of people who feel at once like everyone and yet uniquely themselves. Through deeply resonant images, Cass explores the grey moments of life; the moments that are neither true and happy nor false and ugly. Instead, each story in Something Like Hope presents its characters with messy moments and asks them to act. From a new deputy whose charge needs to leave his cell to get his grandmother insulin to a man who encounters both halves of a newly split young couple. No matter the choices these characters make, each story feels at once resolved and unending in that messy way that life does. Each story feels as though it glimmers with a tinge of possibility, with something that just might be hope. —Hannah Newman, Editor-in-Chief, Sweet Tree Review