“Free Lunch” is from Karen Bender’s collection, REFUND (Counterpoint Press, 2015). Bender’s stories have appeared in The Harvard Review, Ploughshares, Narrative, and elsewhere. She is the author of two novels, A TOWN OF EMPTY ROOMS (Counterpoint Press) and LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE (Houghton Mifflin).
Praise for the story collection:
“The stories are replete with poignant, tragic moments…her graceful and sensitive treatment of her characters reminds us that in difficult times, it’s important to remember that everyone is fighting a hard battle.” — The Boston Globe
“A masterful new collection.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Each of the “Refund” stories is an impeccably constructed miniature, a ship in a bottle that makes the reader wonder how the author got all that detail, all that craft, into such a small container. Taken as a whole, the collection is a 13-stop journey into some richly imagined worlds…Bender’s willingness to go deep, to burrow down into what’s right and wrong about 21st century America and Americans is a mirror that draws us in and does not allow us to look away.” — The Los Angeles Times