Southeast Missouri State University Press

The Last Innocent Year

Kerry Jones

Publication: 9/22/23
Pages: 128

A young girl creeps toward adulthood against a backdrop of the discovery of a missing child’s body. A family aches for easier times as they watch an eldest daughter slip away in haze of mental illness and religion. A woman grapples with past trauma that haunts her marriage. Across the seven stories that comprise The Last Innocent Year, Kerry Jones plunges readers into one heartbroken life after another. Girls on the cusp of womanhood search for meaning in a frightening world that doesn’t make sense, and grown women scour their pasts for clues that might help them unlock a better present. Though layered with references to 80s pop music and classic cinema, these stories aren’t nostalgic—they quietly rage against past cruelties in an attempt to find meaning.


“Kerry Jones’s work opens our eyes anew. The subtle interplay among her characters is in stark contrast to the action those characters experience. This is life as we live it, often odd, sometimes funny, but always dramatic.” —Perry Glasser, author of American Mayhem

“I love the unflinching quality of this collection and the sense of terror lurking just around the corner. These stories remind us not only that our lives might fall apart any second, but somehow worse, that in a moment of our own inattention, they already have. This startling debut takes us right to the brink—of childhood and adulthood, yes, but also of pleasure and pain, truth and fiction, victim and perpetrator, past and present. Kerry Jones climbs right up to that fine edge, first to balance, and then to dance.”  Adam Prince, author of The Beuatiful Wishes of Ugly Men

Trade Paper, $19.00
ISBN: 979-8-9868593-2-3