The Secret Games of Words

Praise for The Secret Games of Words:

“...A thought-provoking collection of compelling and complex characters who tackle difficult situations with wit and heart-breaking honesty.”

read Kelsie Plesac’s review
in Blotterature

"The Secret Games of Words is bleak and brilliant in equal measure.”

read Christopher Allen’s review
in Necessary Fiction

“[An] accomplished collection.”

read Robert Hambling Davis’s review
for Fox Chase Review

"I’m crazy about The Secret Games of Words. In it, Karen Stefano serves up a heartbreakingly funny array of stories in an entertaining variety of forms.”

Read Donna Trump's review.

In The Secret Games of Words, Karen Stefano’s intelligent debut collection of stories, time is a slippery beast. Her characters, haunted by the photo albums of their minds, straddle the chasm of past and present with equal parts longing and bittersweet – if not bitter – nostalgia…..Stefano’s heart is loud, and it is this steady stirring, through restless, blue-collared pasts and bleak presents, this unflagging compassion that beats through her prose, infusing her collection with depth and emotion at every turn, and allowing the reader to hope for an uncharted future.

—Sara Lippmann, author of Doll Palace

Reading Karen Stefano’s fiction is like poring over old photographs from your childhood. There’s a sense of nostalgia, that feeling of “I did that too,” or “I remember that,” but also a darker underlying current of loss and pain. In this collection she examines the complicated nature of relationships, familial and sexual, as well as the deep flaws within our nature—the cruelty of children, the deception of adults. It’s wistful yet wise, and highly recommended.

—Pat Pujolas, author of Jimmy Lagowski Saves the World

“A phenomenon….”

—Meg Tuite, author of Bound By Blue

Brimming with lush details and unexpected turns, every story in this collection is a marvel that transports the reader in subtle yet uncanny ways…. Delightful and demanding, these are stories that must be read.

—Len Kuntz, author of The Dark Sunshine

Karen Stefano is a writer of wit, grace and guts.

—Bud Smith, author of F-250

Like the title suggests, this masterpiece is filled with dark regrets, secrets, the shadows in unspeakable canyons that lie between lovers, spouses, and siblings….Stefano’s unflinching prose will leave you stunned by our human frailty.

—Robert Vaughan, author of Addicts & Basements