A .38 Special and a Broken Heart

Stories by Jonis Agee

May 1, 1995 • 4.5 x 7.5 • 128 pages • 978-1-56689-032-8

Critically acclaimed novelist Jonis Agee continues the popular Coffee-To-Go Series with stories grappling with heartbreak, anger, betrayal, and survival.

Honest, biting, and bittersweet, A .38 Special and a Broken Heart is a rich collection of stories told by critically acclaimed author Jonis Agee. Packed with emotional detail and compelling narrative force, these stories are about people who love, lose, and try again.

Persistence and strength, betrayal and forgiveness, weakness and acceptance, mercy and mystery, life and death—all find themselves played out in this collection, a part of the Coffee-To-Go Short-Short Story Series.

About the Author

Jonis Agee was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. She is Adele Hall Professor of English at The University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where she teaches creative writing and twentieth-century fiction.

She is the author of several books, including the widely praised Sweet Eyes, Strange Angels, and Bend This Heart, which were named Notable Books of the Year by the New York Times Book Review. Her first story collection from Coffee House Press, Bend This Heart, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Agee’s awards include ForeWord Magazine’s Editor’s Choice Award for Taking the Wall and the Gold Medal in Fiction for Acts of Love on Indigo Road; a National Endowment for the Arts grant in fiction; a Loft-McKnight Award; a Loft-McKnight Award of Distinction; and two Nebraska Book Awards.


“This latest volume in the publisher’s ‘Coffee to Go’ series reveals almost thirty selections of short stories which have minimal plots and strong impacts. Agee’s special style provides a strong and unique set of circumstances spiced with memorable observations of human nature.” —Midwest Book Review

“This new volume in the Coffee-to-Go Short-Short Story series explores the tangled intersections of love and death. Most of the 29 selections are ‘momentary stories’ that ‘fling themselves at you and you don’t have any choice but catch them.’ . . . Most of her tales are from the perspective of the wronged woman, but in ‘Listen’ she anticipates and rebuts the objections of a pompous male critic. ‘I told him that you have to be careful when you break horses that you don’t break their spirit too.’ This spirit resounds in the splendid economy of Agee’s deft characterization and sharp, visceral imagery.” —Publishers Weekly

A .38 Special and a Broken Heart is short-short story writing at its best. It deserves to be read, read again and passed to every story-loving friend on down the road.” —Albuquerque Journal

“Agee’s fans—and readers who appreciate the immediacy of good short-shorts—will find much to relish here.” —Booklist