Menashe Everett is a tormented man.
He’s ruled by depression and addiction. He’s haunted by his past.
At 37, he barely holds onto his job and lives in a haze of blurred reality.
But to many in his life, he’s their only hope.
For the past ten years, Menashe has been acting as a counselor to similarly afflicted clients who agree to his unorthodox brand of pseudo-therapy. After a grim but revelatory trip to Las Vegas in his late twenties, Menashe decided to open up a "glass museum"—an underground safe place where clients can vent their anguish by destroying rooms filled with clear glass art. The museum brings hope to those who have not responded to traditional therapy, but also gives Menashe a sense of purpose he desperately needs.
Menashe’s work is always challenging, but now he’s taken on a particularly taxing caseload. Among others, he counsels Austin Gendron, a gruff Vietnam veteran prone to psychotic breaks; Murray Henderson, a timid college student trying to understand his episodes of anger and anxiety; and John Cook, Menashe’s best friend. As he works tirelessly for his clients, Menashe must also handle his increasingly complex personal life, which constantly forces him to relive his past and question his abilities as a therapist.
Set in Cleveland in the late 1980s, Glass tests traditional ideas of interpersonal responsibility and what it means to struggle with mental illness.
"Glass is a stunning debut for novelist Kate Kort. The imagery is vivid and the characters complex and well rounded. The story is raw, intense and, at times, hard to read but once you begin it is impossible to put down because you find yourself pulled into this world and you need to know what will happen next. The protagonist, Menashe Everett is flawed. In spite of this, he is likable and appealing because he is genuine and kind and out of control. He assembles a group around him, each with their own flaws, and as self-appointed therapist tries to help them overcome past trauma. His therapy consists of the unique idea of smashing glass, taking that which is pristine and clear and reducing it to a chaotic pile of rubble that mirrors the innermost pain of his clients. The success of this unorthodox treatment is impossible to measure and not clearly evident until the end of the book.
"Finely nuanced and exquisitely drawn, Glass is not the kind of book you forget after you finish. Kort has masterfully written a riveting and poignant story that grabs you and draws you into a place where glass isn’t the only thing that’s fragile. A must read."
—Cynthia A. Graham, author of Beneath Still Waters
"Glass, Kate Kort’s debut novel, is told in an artful narrative pattern that goes back and forth from past to present. Though weighty in its subject matter, Glass avoids enveloping the reader in darkness by two means: the shining narrative and descriptive talents of this debut novelist, and the masterfully authentic rendering of a variety of damaged characters who, however undone they perhaps ought to be, still seek a way not only to help themselves but each other. This arresting array of co-sufferers insist on our attention and receive our sympathy, even as that sympathy extends out from this author to all of us, the recipients of this gift of irresistible honesty and insight into our human plight."
—Joe Benevento, author of The Monsignor’s Wife and Saving St. Teresa
“Based on the premise alone, I felt drawn to read this book. I’m glad I did; as deep and dark as it was, I really found a lot to like about Glass. The characterizations in particular are terrific. The characters all stand out as real people, deeply flawed, and behaving as real people generally behave in my experience. . . . No magic steps in to improve anyone’s lot, and everyone just pushes through with what they have. The writing is wonderfully clear and straightforward, and peppered with perfect details throughout. A singular vision, and a remarkable debut!”
—Eric Henderson,, author of Stranded in Sunshine
“This substantial book stays with you, its characters leap off the page and its sustained tension keeps you reading until the very end.”
—Peter H. Green, author of Fatal Designs
“Glass is simply a brilliantly written novel. . . . a story about imperfect people trying to find their way in an imperfect world. . . . Kate Kort intertangled what we loathe about people with what we love and admire about people. . . . I look forward to reading Kate’s next novel and I hope it captures me as strongly as Glass did.”
—Brian Simpson, author of Island Dogs
“The first thing that grabbed me about Glass was the fascinating premise: the destruction of glass objects as therapy for troubled souls. . . . But then Kort goes a step further, employing a troubled protagonist (Menashe) as an amateur therapist to share his healing discovery with others. That opens up a world of complex and compelling characters who intersect through Ash and reveal their own mosaic of deeply-buried traumas. Kort weaves their stories together with beautiful writing, escalating the stakes on every page, driving it to a shocking but deeply satisfying conclusion. You won’t find many page-turners in the literary novel genre, but this is definitely one of them.”
—Gary Corbin, author of the Valorie Dawes Thrillers
“Kate Kort’s debut novel is one unlike most authors choose for their first work. Addressing the complex issues of mental illness, disintegrating family relationships, and depression would make a depressing book in less skillful hands. Ms. Kort, however, tells an uplifting tale of hope, redemption, and a journey to find one’s self. . . . The courage found by the people in this story reflects that of the author who found the courage to address ills of our time. Kate Kort’s words are as gentle hands upon the soul of those tormented by past transgressions, and become, in the end, a balm for life’s trials.”
—Dennis Young, author of The Ardwellian Chronicles
“Kate Kort’s edgy but brilliant novel is not a ‘feel good’ book, by any means. Yet even if there seems to be no light at the end of the dark tunnel Menashe Everett inhabits, there are lessons to be learned there. In the process, Kort’s creation becomes an unforgettable character—part Everyman, part tortured soul, and ultimately someone we almost have to root for, despite his flaws.”
—Robert Darrell Laurant, Snowflakes in a Blizzard
“Tense, honest, true. . . . Kort does not shy away from depicting mental illness in its most realistic representations. . . . With Hollywood’s sanitized representations of the various types of mental illness, including popular fiction and other media, Kort’s Glass is a welcome wake-up call. . . . a great read.”
—Nick Rossi, Reading Other People
“It is hard to express myself after reading this book. . . . This book is spot on. A reminder of the power of compassion.”
—A survivor, counselor, and suicide prevention expert
Kate Kort was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1985. She studied English and world literature at Truman State University. She currently lives in a suburb of Portland, Oregon, with her husband and four children. Some of her favorite authors include Salman Rushdie, G.K. Chesterton, Carl Hiaasen, Mikhail Bulgakov, Andrei Bely, and Arundhati Roy.
She is the author of three novels: Glass and its sequel, Tempered, as well as Laika.