Once Murray understands he can control his violent impulses, he’s left with a far more unsettling question: does he even want to?
Ten years after losing both his beloved mentor and his abusive father, Murray Henderson is still yearning for direction. He’s treading water in Cleveland, failing in his career and relationships. Anger, guilt, and distrust continually derail his chances at happiness. When an opportunity calls him to New York City, Murray finally sees a path out of his relentless grief.
But as he navigates a hopeful new life, he soon falls back into old patterns of self-loathing and violence. A promising relationship starts to show cracks, and the friendships Murray has always counted on begin to fray. With his life shattering around him, Murray realizes he must confront his most devastating secret and the intertwined fear and anger that have haunted him for over a decade. Tempered, the sequel to Glass, explores the deadly pull of anger and how we are shaped by—and shape—the ones we love.
“In Tempered, author Kort revisits the hard topics explored in Glass. She has once again created a protagonist that you care about, despite flaws that are not ignored or minimized. Instead of shortcuts or easy answers, she realistically portrays trauma, its aftermath, and the hard work that is required for healing.
“Avoiding cliché endings, she skillfully balances a narrative that is at once gritty and hopeful. It is a book that you walk away from with a new sense of compassion and understanding for those among us who are struggling. Thought-provoking and honest, Tempered is a book you won’t want to put down.”
—Cynthia A. Graham, award-winning author of Beneath Still Waters
“Tempered offers a fascinating character study of a tormented man and the many facets of his recovery. Kort provides an honest, unflinching look at the ways trauma can affect ourselves and our loved ones both. . . .
“Kort’s novel is an accomplishment. With characters as rich as these, one must wonder if there is potential for a third book—a Murray Henderson trilogy, so to speak. As the narrative so vividly reminds us, there is no easy or absolute end to the effects of the past.”
—Nathanial Drenner, Independent Book Review
“As in her previous two novels, Kate Kort takes her readers for an uneasy but fascinating ride with brilliantly drawn characters who are trying, often unsuccessfully, to overcome their abusive pasts. Murray Henderson is someone we root for, even as we question the unhealthy choices he makes. As he tries to create a new life for himself in New York City, the positive potential in new relationships is challenged by the violent responses to life that have become too much a part of his new self. Told with an unflinching realism combined with a sure and lyrical humanity, Tempered will keep its readers anchored in a hope for a better life for Murray that in many ways becomes a hope we must hold for us all.”
—Joe Benevento, author of My Perfect Wife, Her Perfect Son
"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.